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Forest Fitness

New Year resolution to get fit? Then ditch the stuffy gym and get active in the great outdoors. Go solo, or get the whole family together and take to the woods to get active whatever the weather.

Fed up of the January rush to the gym? Queuing for machines and packed full classes? Then here’s three very good reasons to swap the gym for this forest this New Year…

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 a massive £464.40 a year.

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

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 and will mean you get fitter faster. And who wouldn’t want that!

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

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).

So, if you're thinking of getting more active this year, have a think about what environment you think will best suit you.

Swap your gym pass for a Discovery Pass

Last updated: 11th January 2018

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