A FITNESS group is offering local people the chance to kickstart their exercise regime for 2023 and help the community at the same time.

The GoodGym January Challenge is a campaign for people to complete as many good deeds as possible. Each session involves a task such as restocking food banks, planting trees at community gardens, painting a fence for a primary school, changing a lightbulb or building flat-pack furniture for an isolated older person. 

Participants can walk, run or cycle to the sessions, which are often physical in nature.

The Woking branch of GoodGym meets at the leisure centre every Wednesday evening and started about five years ago.

“We set off as a group, and never leave anyone behind,” said Holly Jones, who runs the group with her partner Nick Frost, who is a fitness trainer.

Lauren, Holly, Wayne, Katie, James and Alys making up food bags. (Picture supplied)

“We always have a tail walker or runner and if there are lots of us, we have a faster group and a slower one. It’s designed so that people of all abilities can join,” Holly said.

The group also takes part in activities at weekends and is heavily involved in the ParkRun at the leisure centre.

“We have contacts with a lot of local charities and non-profit organisations,” Holly said.

“We’ve done work with the food bank at the Lighthouse in the town centre and over Christmas we packed more than 200 food parcels for the Salvation Army in Knaphill. We work with local primary schools and do painting and gardening for their forest schools.

“We also do a lot of litter picking round Woking.”

The first GoodGym group started in 2010 and there are now 59 across England and Wales.

“GoodGym arose out of a frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential,” said Ed Field, the national head of growth and partnerships.

“So instead, it supports and encourage adults to combine regular exercise with helping isolated and older people and community projects.”

Holly said that as well as helping the local community, the group members have benefitted.

“We’ve had people who started with us and couldn’t run at all and now they run all the time,” she said.

For more information, visit www.GoodGym.org.