If you want to get fit without a hefty gym subscription or pricey personal trainer, there are lots of ways to try new activities and meet new people in Bristol by using what’s in the city for free.
One of the biggest health and fitness successes of recent years has been Parkrun. Parkruns are free, weekly, timed events organised by volunteers. Bristol has two main options – both 5km in length – at Ashton Court and Eastville Park. Make sure to register before taking part for the first time.
Junior Parkruns are 2km runs aimed specifically at children aged four to 15 but parents can join in too. They take place in Kings Weston, Eastville Park, Victoria Park and Page Park.
This Mum Runs does exactly what it says on the tin, with free weekly runs for women currently held across the city. This Mum Runs is a community of women that run for headspace, to meet others and improve their health and wellbeing.
The pressure-free weekly runs are held on Wednesdays at 7.30pm and Sundays at 8am. There’s no need to book and no one is left behind. Runs are currently held in Brislington, Cheswick Village, Clifton Down, Eastville Park, Emersons Green, Greville Smyth Park, Horfield Common, Patchway, Pill, Thornbury and Victoria Park.
Not quite yet ready to run with others? Try the free NHS Coach25km app and build up your running confidence at a time to suit you. The app, which is available on iTunes and Google Play, provides a nine-week running plan for total beginners. It gives you a choice of coaches from comedian Sarah Millican to Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson and helps you to track your progress through the course.
If running isn’t for you, Bristol City Council runs a free, led-walking group for people of all abilities around various routes in the city. Called Walk for Health, it’s a great way to get some exercise and meet new people. Bristol also has lots of picturesque places to take a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek.
As well as of lots of parks and green spaces, the city has an annual Walking Festival which includes guided and themed tours. Most of the city centre including the harbourside loop is signposted for walkers by blue information points and a map.
If you want to go further afield, the Bristol South Skyline Walk provides great views of the city. Choose from a two- or six-mile route, both of which have lots of points of interest along the way.
From two legs to two wheels, British Cycling runs guided rides for all, while Breeze offers a women only option for female cyclists of all abilities. Rides start across the city in locations such as Blaise Castle and Bradley Stoke. They range in distance and are led by a trained guide.
Bristol24/7 relies on your support to fund our independent journalism and social impact projects. Become a member and enjoy exclusive perks from just £5 per month.
Life Cycle offers training on cycling and bike maintenance, as well as organising free and inclusive supported group rides including one for over-55s, a youth project for those aged eight to 14, tandem rides for the visually-impaired, and ‘Bike- minded’ for boosting wellbeing.
Healthier Together Citizens’ Panel
The Healthier Together Citizens’ Panel is a public involvement initiative across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire made up of more than 1,000 people who form a representative cross-section of the region’s residents. It enables individuals to voice their views on health and care matters in their area, while helping to influence and shape the future of the area’s health and care services.
. 84 per cent of residents report that they are feeling healthy
. 77 per cent currently feel in control of their lives
. 76 per cent currently feel happy
. 25-44 year olds feel less healthy than other age groups
. 65 to 74-year olds feel the healthiest, happiest and most in control of their lives
. 67 per cent of people say that they don’t find it easy to make the changes they want to make to keep themselves healthy and well
. 19 per cent are smokers, ten per day on average
For more information about Healthier Together, visit www.bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk
Main photo by Ellie Pipe