Forestry Commission logo
England's Woods & Forests
We are soon to launch our new website for the public forests in England. Take an early look at the beta site

Forest fit banners

3 very good reasons to swap the gym for the forest

If you're feeling the need to shake the slump and get active, it can be tempting to rush to the nearest gym. However, for a fraction of the price you can get mentally and physically fitter by swapping the gym pass for a Discovery Pass!

Cheaper   Fitter   Happier

1. Easier on the wallet

According to Which, the average gym member is wasting a whopping £500 a year on their membership. With expensive joining fees and the trendy new gear you’ll be tempted to buy, workout buffs quickly find themselves out of pocket.

Compare this with the average cost of an annual Discovery Pass at £35.60, and you’ll be saving £464.40 every year.

That’s the equivalent of buying yourself a new bike every single year!

A Discovery Pass gives you free parking in your local forest all year, plus discounts on activities like Go Ape, and outdoor clothing companies.

It’s not like you’re compromising on equipment either! From our extensive network of cycling and walking trails, to our running, orienteering and horse riding routes – there’s plenty to keep you from getting bored.

2. A healthier body

Getting active in the forest provides a whole load of hidden physical benefits, all of which put your gym to shame.

"You'll find yourself getting fitter faster"

Naturally mixed terrains help to develop your agility and balance, and ‘varying inclines’ becomes more than just a setting on the treadmill.

Facing wind resistance also makes your workout more effective, and you'll find yourself getting fitter faster than those stuck in crowded gyms.

If you're serious about personal improvement, you'll also develop better pacing skills whilst getting active in the forest. Being able to understand your body well enough to set and maintain a pace is a crucial element, especially if you're hoping to enter an event.

3. A healthier mind

A recent study by the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health found that those who exercise in a natural environment cut the risk of suffering from poor mental health by 50%.

"You're less likely to stick to your fitness goals if you perceive your workout as stressful"

Being around trees and nature is proven to generate greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positivity, and fewer feelings of confusion, frustration and depression – making you much more likely to want to return to the forest to exercise and enjoy those good vibes.

In contrast, the noisy and crowded gym will be far more likely to lead to stress. The added anxiety of queues, bright lights and repetitive music (not to mention the social pressure of people watching and hearing you work out).

You're less likely to stick to your fitness goals if you perceive your workout as stressful, so your environment will have an huge impact on your ability to succeed. If you're thinking of getting more active this year, have a long think about what environment you think will best suit you.

Swap your gym pass for a Discovery Pass

For free parking in the forest all year round (for a fraction of the price of a gym membership) grab yourself a Discovery Pass.

Forest HolidaysForest Holidays' forest fitness tips

Our friends at Forest Holidays share our love for the outdoors. Check out their top tips and ideas (external) for keeping the family forest fit this year.

#ForestFitShare your #ForestFit photos

To those getting active outdoors, no matter the weather, we salute you! We want to celebrate your heroics, so don't forget to share your photos on our Facebook and Twitter pages with #ForestFit.

Last updated: 22nd June 2017

Related pages

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.