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How local authorities and councils benefit from investing in outdoor gym equipment

According to Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis there are hundreds outdoor gyms UK-wide. They’re typically funded by local authorities, and are available for anyone to access all year round, free of charge.

kensington park gym

19th April 2023

More than 42 million adults in the UK are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2040 (according to Cancer Research UK figures), with the poorest set to be among the worst affected. Meanwhile, official statistics from earlier this year reveal that one in 10 children is obese by the age of five in the UK, climbing to nearly a quarter (23%) by age 11. Again, deprived children are likelier to be overweight. 

So the need for healthy lifestyles, including regular exercising, has never been greater, not least in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet fewer than one in five of us belongs to an indoor gym, while almost half of British women and a third of men never work out, according to a 2022 survey of 800 British adults. The NHS recommends children and young people do an average of at least an hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity a day across the week, while adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, or 75 of vigorous exercise. 

Exercising outside offers all the benefits of fitness within four walls, but with the added psychological advantages of exposure to fresh air and green spaces, plus vital access to sunlight to top up Vitamin D levels. Indeed, the benefits of open-air workouts on wellbeing and good for those with stress are well known. 

What Are The Benefits of Outdoor Gyms

Al fresco gyms are an excellent way of providing a way for people to work out under the sky. Here are some of the key benefits to local councils in investing in these facilities: 

  • Fitness for allOutdoor gyms are highly democratic and the equipment suits recreation grounds and parks. People don’t need a pass or complicated membership schemes to hop on and get some exercise, whether they’re resident or just passing through. Anyone can benefit from an outdoor gym, whether they’re new to or returning to working out, or already at peak fitness, and whatever their age. It’s free at the point of use, involving few or no maintenance costs, no energy bills, safe, and with none of the intimidation that some may feel in indoor gyms. 
  • Any time: An outdoor gym is open as long as the ground housing it is. So, barring, for example, park closure rules, it can be used on Christmas Day or a summer’s night. Accessibility is always important factor in encouraging people make use of a facility. 
  • Community building: You don’t need to be with anyone else to work out in an outdoor gym. But it’s different to walking or running alone. People have the chance to be outside getting fit alongside like-minded folk who can encourage and motivate each other. Interaction, access to green space and exercise all combine to improve mental health and reduce loneliness. This aspect will be heightened if instructors hold classes at the site. So it’s a way for an authority to show clear, important investment in the local community. Find out how Rushmoor Borough Council installed outdoor gym facilities at two sites with a Launch Package to encourage community involvement.  
  • Diversity: UK government figures show that people from Asian, black and other ethnic-minority populations were more likely than average to be physically inactive, at 31%, 29%, and 30% respectively. Especially if yours is a diverse area, you can bring communities together with a space where people can connect with one another via a shared interest. 

Fresh Air Fitness is a leading UK outdoor gym equipment specialist. Talk to us today about what we could do for your parks, rec grounds or other outdoor spaces, putting you on the path to a healthier, happier local population. Take a look at our great outdoor gym offers for councils to find the best solution for your park.

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