Get fit... and make a difference too

Laura Williams

Picture the scene: it’s 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening at the Reebok Sports Club and instead of being full of weary looking execs wishing they were in the pub, the reception is buzzing with an eager group of runners about to head out to a local community garden to enjoy a workout with a difference. Welcome to The Good Gym. The event was a joint venture between The Good Gym, an organisation that connects people who want to put their fitness to good use in the community with Canary Wharf’s Reebok Club.

Our run saw us heading out from the Wharf via Blackwall to the distinctly less twinkly streets of Poplar where we were met by Tom from Greening Brownfield, a community garden and food growing co-op run by residents of Erno Goldfinger's brownfield estate. For the next 25 minutes, we shovelled mounds of mulch, lugged around bin liners full of rubble and lifted a greenhouse from one side of the garden to the other. Tiring yes, but so much more rewarding than an isolating 30 minutes on the treadmill. Good Gym, good job I say. The Good Gym runs regular group events like this, as well as providing opportunities for individuals to sign up for one-to-one projects. For more information visit Reebok Sports Club:

Reasons to Get Involved
• There’s nothing like knowing a vulnerable member of society is dependent on you heading out for your run – a whole new take on fitness motivation.

• Doing good equals less depression. A 2010 American study found that a significant connection between volunteering and good health. Findings showed volunteers have greater longevity, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.

• Get a whole new workout. Forget the lat pulldown: shovelling mounds of mulch will work your lats like no other while bending, squatting and weeding act as a mini circuit.

• Further your career. A REED poll found 73 per cent of employers prefer a candidate with volunteering experience over one without. Follow me on Twitter @laurafitness or visit