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Get Fighting Fit in the Forest this New Year

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Nordic walking group on a discovery walk in Bentley community wood

Many of us make resolutions each New Year which we struggle to keep or indeed start, so Forestry Commission England is making it easier for you with a wide range of activities to get you in shape. 

Our woods offer so many cheap and fun options to get fit regardless of age or ability, from cycling and exercise classes to a gentle stroll in the forest.

Research has shown that not only can woodlands play a part in helping you become physically fit but getting outdoors can also help relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing.  With a Forestry Commission wood never more than half an hour away there’s no excuse for not going into the New Year looking and feeling great. 

Why not try your hand at Nordic Walking?  It’s a brilliant way to burn calories as the specially designed poles mean both your upper and lower body muscles are getting a workout, and it’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels.  It’s also a fantastic way to get out and meet people.  Several of our woodlands across England offer Nordic Walking sessions for all abilities, so whether you’re a beginner or seasoned professional why not give it a go in the surroundings of our beautiful forests. 

If you prefer to be on two wheels, our forests have everything you need for a great day out cycling, from easy going trails to the adrenaline rushes of the mountain bike routes.  Cycling provides a great workout and can help to shape and tone muscles. 

If you’re looking for something a little more energetic how about a BodyFit Bootcamp session, an effective way to lose weight led by a personal trainer to ensure you get the best workout for your needs.

Conservation work is also another great way to stay healthy whilst also giving something back to your local woodland. 

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission Chair says:

“We all overindulge during the festive season so why not take up a new hobby in our forests as a fun and cheap alternative to a trip to the gym.  Research shows that people enjoy themselves more when exercising outdoors.  With so many classes and activities to choose from at Forestry Commission sites, we can help you stay healthy and fit.”

To see what classes and activities are happening in your area visit our website where you can also use our handy table to judge your fitness levels. 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

  2. Research taken from reports, case studies and evidence found on our website

  3. BodyFit Bootcamp sessions are being held at Alice Holt Forest every Tuesday and Thursday.  For more information and booking visit

  4. To find out more about getting involved in conservation work in your area visit

  5. Research on the benefits of outdoor exercise taken from the Environmental Science and Technology research journal published on February 4 2011

Media contact: Faye Dawson 0117 3721085