How often have you signed up to a gym only to lose the will to go after just a few weeks? The smallest barriers to exercise can put you off exercising: the membership may seem too expensive, you may not have time, the dog may need walking and so on. But a new breed of gyms in your local park may be the answer.
In the latest part of the government’s “nudge” theory, brightly colored gym machines are being built in parks throughout the country. Drawing inspiration from the Chinese government and often located near the children’s playground, these outdoor gyms feature leg press machines, chest press chairs that use your own body weight as resistance, cross trainers, pull up bars and other bits of kit that you may have seen in the gym. These adult playgrounds remove two of the main barriers to exercise – cost and accessibility. They also enable participants to multi-task: the children can play on the swings while you do a strength training circuit, or the dog can take a breather while you do your thing (you walked him to the park as part of your warm up, of course).
These adult playgrounds are part of the new “nudge” theory that has become favoured government thinking both in the UK and in the US. This idea tries to guide people in the right direction, as opposed to bullying them, which can often be counter-productive.
Margot Bloom, 42, uses the outdor gym in Southampton. She says:
“I can do restance training as part of my dog walking routine. Runners stop to use it and bodybuilders come here to to top up their workout. In the summer it becomes a bit of a social event with everyone helping each other. I’m not fond of indoor gyms or their prices”.
The sterile nature of the traditional gym, plus the cost, commute, and embarrassment factor are all obstacles that the new gyms in the park may overcome. So give it a go. Just as working out with a personal trainer outdoors can be much more rewarding than the traditional gym variant, so too these adult playgrounds may be just the excuse to stop you from making excuses…!
To find one near you check one of the main UK providers of outdoor fitness facilities, Fresh Air Fitness
There are outdoors gyms in Burnaham park and at Braywick park in Maidenhead.
A single session with one of our personal trainers can help you to get the absolute most from these innovative gyms, and a simple programme that you can do on these machines will really help you focus your time, get fit and lose weight.