As the weather’s nicer, we thought we’d share a couple great ideas we’ve come across for outdoor exercise, GoodGym and Our Parks. GoodGym is a way to ‘get fit while doing good’ and Our Parks is free outdoor exercise in parks in Waltham Forest – read on for details.
Are you looking for new ways to incorporate exercise this summer? How about getting fit and doing good at the same time?
GoodGym helps you get ﬁt by doing good: they’ll connect you with physical tasks that beneﬁt your community and keep you fit. You can choose group runs, where you run with others to go and contribute to a community project, one-off missions to help vulnerable people, or commit to visiting an isolated older person weekly. You’ll get the help of a qualiﬁed trainer and support to achieve your goals. It will be a lot harder to skip your weekly run when you know there’s someone waiting for you at the end of it, and you get the added benefit of feeling better. Most people are aware that exercise improves mood, but did you know that doing good for other people also makes you happy? When people do good, their brain becomes active in the same reward centre as where they experience other rewards1.
How it Works
You can try it out by joining in a group run. You can then become a member by signing up, and decide if you want to commit to a regular run or just do group projects. While it doesn’t require any membership fees, it does have suggested donation amounts if you’d like to donate either for the initial joining costs or on a regular basis to support the organisation.
For an overview of how it works, check out their How it Works and FAQ’s page. You can also see some examples of their group runs here. For more detail about GoodGym (click on the name for the website), they have an About page you can look at. The closest groups to us are Hackney and Tower Hamlets – but if you’re inspired there’s no reason not to start one in Leyton!
It sounds too good to be true: free group exercise classes, outside in parks all over Waltham Forest?
That’s Our Parks. They have loads of free classes at parks in our area (funded by Waltham Forest Council), including Lloyd Park, Jubilee Park, and Langthorne Park to name a few. Classes range gentle/easy (i.e. good for beginners) to more active classes for those with more fitness experience. A sample from their class list includes: Family Fit, Buggy Fit, Yoga, Tai Chi (samples from the green category), Athletics Conditioning, Fitness Boot Camp, Parkour and Street Dance (samples from the blue category) and Box Fit and Intervals (samples from the black category).
How It Works
Join free on their website. Search for a class that works for you as far as content, location, and time, then book online. Bring the QR code with you to the class, and that’s it! The website has tips about what to consider when planning to join a class as well, so it’s a good idea to review them before you go.
So, get outside! If anyone tries either of them, let us know how it goes for our other readers. Happy training!
Just a note: I hope if you try either of them that you enjoy them, but please bear in mind if you’re starting any new fitness regime it’s a good idea to check with a physician prior to doing so. I haven’t had a chance to try either of them myself – I can say having had contact with both organisations they seem really friendly and helpful, but as with anything it’s a good idea to check it out for yourself before you try it.
1. Happiness fact taken from Action for Happiness website (a great resource about the physiology and other information about happiness) and source of fact is S. Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness, 2007; J. Rilling et al, Neuron, 35:395-405, 2002