When we think about getting fit and improving our health, by default most of us start to think about signing up for a gym membership. But the problem with gyms is that too often they require a lot of willpower to go through the initial stage of finding the right one, the sign-up process, and then sticking to the routine. The last one often turns out to be rather monotonous and not particularly exciting. So, for many people the word gym brings up some unpleasant feelings.
However, the gym is not the only option to improve your wellbeing. There are so many alternatives. And one which is free and super green is volunteering at your local park. Volunteering at a park makes you fitter while you are using your muscle power to do something good for the city.
If you happened to be based in Lviv these days, the city has plenty of parks to volunteer in. The one I went to is the park Vysokyi Zamok. It’s located on a hill, offering great views of the city from above. Its narrow paths are perfect for long walks. During one of these walks, I noticed a house with lots of flowers and a greenhouse. I decided to pop in and to ask if they needed volunteers. And sure enough, they did. This, in a nutshell, is how you sign-up for Free & Green Gym – by asking. No money or ID is needed. Just put on some old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and you are good to start.
The good thing about volunteering in a park is that it’s super time flexible. You are free to choose when to come and for how long. The first time I went for my “morning session” I was three hours late, and felt pretty bad about it. But I was still greeted warmly by the park workers, who, as I realised over time, are among the most warm and genuine people I have ever met. It made me think that it’s working at a park that made these people happy and cheerful. After all, how can you be sad working outdoors, with nature, and in peace?
Here, your training equipment is a shovel, rake, broom, pruner, and the list can go on. Your coach is the park staff. There are also squirrels, but they won’t bother you much. If you are like me, enjoying thinking and daydreaming while exercising, you will find volunteering in a park peaceful and refreshing. I even keep a notepad at hand to write down all the random ideas that come up, while my body is busy with preparing patches of soil for the flowers.
If you like company to make work even more fun, you may want to team up with a friend to volunteer together. Sharing is what makes experiences so rich, so why not send a friend a link to this article and go volunteer together?
Following is a photo gallery of the Vysokyi Zamok park.
Do you have more ideas for volunteering and/or alternatives to a gym? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Vysokyi Zamok Park