Healthy body, healthy mind and good for the environment – that is what is on offer in West Cumbria’s newest gymnasium.

This one is outside, free to attend and involves gardening at the West House charity’s Grow West gardens at Allerby, running every Friday from 10am to 3pm.

The Green Gym which was begun by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), has been picked up by the charity West House, the Workington-based charity which helps people with learning difficulties.

Joyce Dickson, who runs the Green Gym, said it started late in the year and will probably finish for the winter at the end of this month.

“But we really want to carry on. It is a great scheme and being outdoors is good for physical and mental well being.”

The emphasis is very much on health and fitness – volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities.

People are guided in practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds.

Organisers claim that people burn off a third more calories in some Green Gym sessions than in an average aerobics class.

West House fundraising manager Emma Robinson said the gym has already proved beneficial to those who have used it.

She said: "It is still a small number but we hope to get more people involved next year. It is great for both physical and mental health."

For more information or to sign up visit gym