Outdoor gyms in parks and playgrounds have seen a surge in popularity over recent years. As outdated parks and playgrounds are getting a modern revamp or upgrade, more local authorities are choosing to include an outdoor fitness area to encourage exercise and promote a healthy lifestyle.
These adult playgrounds may attract local joggers or runners to the park to use the outdoor gym equipment as part of their routine warm up session. Or even parents who are accompanying their own children to the playground can make use of the facilities themselves.
Unlike “real” indoor gyms, outdoor gyms can seem a lot less intimidating to fitness beginners, who may find the loud music and muscled fitness buffs off-putting. Not to mention the soaring prices of gym memberships which could be justified if you were to visit the gym quite frequently. The biggest deterrent of joining a gym for most people is the cost and dedication. Whereas outdoor gyms are usually found in public parks, where access to them is convenient and, more importantly, free of charge.
The casual environment of outdoor gyms don’t tend to attract the hardcore gym rats, eliminating the pressure of competition of feeling like you have to impress others by how fit you are. There’s a low barrier of entry. Most outdoor gym equipment is designed to be simple, requiring little to no explanation of how to use the equipment, whereas indoor gym equipment can often require a knowledgeable person to explain how it all works if you’re new to the gym.
Senior citizens can enjoy the benefits of an outdoor park and exercise outdoors with their friends as a social activity, with simple exercises that aren’t too demanding.
The downside to outdoor gyms unfortunately is that they depend on the weather! No one is going to want to use cold and wet gym equipment during the rainy seasons. When the sun is shining though, no stuffy indoor gym can beat the natural fresh air and sunshine that you can enjoy at an outdoor gym. Along with the additional health benefits from the sunshine, like a boost to your body’s supply of vitamin D and lower blood pressure.
How To Use an Outdoor Gym
Outdoor gyms usually include a range of fitness equipment that can be used for balance training, cardio training, flexibility training and strength training. Each item is usually designed to be quite self-explanatory to make the fitness station more accessible to beginners, whilst also offering simple workout equipment that can be used effectively by the more experienced exercise enthusiasts.
The most basic of outdoor gym equipment includes different types of exercise bars and exercise racks for pull ups, push ups, dips and leg raises and are usually available at different heights to suit different age groups and body types. Timber equipment is safe to use for strength training, as they’re quite sturdy and durable and most timber equipment isn’t designed for movement.
Then you have the more sophisticated steel-framed outdoor gym equipment with mechanical parts that allow for a more “gym-like” experience. Most outdoor gym equipment designed for aerobic or cardiovascular training will be steel-framed, and mimic exercises such as jogging, rowing or walking upstairs. These types of exercises are great for busy mums and dads who don’t have the time to hit the gym, but do have the time to take their kids to the playground. Due to the fixed positioning of outdoor gym equipment, parents can watch their children closely in the playground – all while exercising!
Even the most basic of outdoor gyms will incorporate various types of exercise equipment, so that there is something for everyone and users are free to come up with their own circuit workout routine. From high intensity aerobics to strength training, you’d be surprised how many muscles you can target with the minimum of equipment available.