Summertime is here, and feeling the blues about your weight or muscle definition? Don’t stress the Park Gym is here to get you out of the house and get active.
From the gentle leg pushes to the hardcore pull-ups, Park gyms are exploding all over the UK and they are for you to use.
What are Park Gyms?
In recent years, local councils have been making an effort to make park gyms accessible to local residents on a stroll around your local park.
We all know how expensive the gym can be, and we often get caught up with so many other things in our lives that we have memberships we don’t even use!
In the quest to tackle the increasing trend of obesity, the national rhetoric has been to encourage us to get outside. So the next logical step to getting outside is to do something.
Enter the Park Gym. Robust, weather resistant gym equipment situated in an easy to reach location in your local park.
They normally are based on using your own body weight to tone and strengthen muscles. There are some which encourage more cardiovascular activity too. So for an all-over body workout, your local park might just be the place to go.
Where can I find one?
Your best bet is to get in touch with your local council and ask where they are located. If they don’t have any near you why not suggest that one get put nearby.
Get others involved and interested in getting a Park Gym set up for everyone to use.
They are normally sited near children’s play areas too for parents to work out a little while their children play on the slides and swings.
What do they cost?
Yup, they are paid for by your hard-earned taxes and as such, that should motivate you to use something you have already paid for.
What a great use for the money you pay to the government each month. Your health is important.
Who can attend?
Of course, it is worth mentioning to your local doctor that you are starting some physical activity if you have been inactive for a while so they can recommend how to get started again and avoid injury.
For kids, it results in a bit of fun as they try to reach bars and copy what others are trying to achieve. They end up exercising without realising it. Not only that, you get a get opportunity to interact with your kids too.
By yourself, doesn’t matter. Go with a plan of action. Maybe it is just to do 3 sets of 5 leg pushes, or it is to beat your previous score from the day before on the pull-up machine.
Perhaps you have a small blether with friends every Tuesday and Thursday, then why not get a few cross-training machine sets in before your cup of tea and make it a little thing you do together and encourage each other.
What are the Benefits?
Moving your body has been proven to release endorphins (chemicals to improve mood)and to exercise your joints and muscles alleviates aches.
Having a little exercise in your life also ensures you lower your blood pressure, burn calories and tone your body.
It relieves stress too. While exercising you are thinking about the exercise and not the stress you may be under.
Sat at a desk all day? Burning off a bit of energy and moving your body will result in great gains in your overall health and productivity. You’ll be more alert and positive.
How could you pass up this opportunity?
But others will laugh at me!
Yes they will!
How bad was that? Did you lose any part of your body when you read that last sentence? I didn’t think so!
People laugh and point because it makes them feel assured that they are in some manner and shape better than someone else. If that is what they need to do to feel accepted then they are more insecure than you feel.
You on the other hand can easily turn that negative feeling into your new strength. Instead of thinking about the embarrassment, why not turn that into the courage you need to work out.
With every push of the bars, every heave of the legs you are getting stronger. You are achieving something that you set out to do.
That will last far longer than a few laughs or comments.
In a few weeks, you’ll start to feel and probably even see the benefits. You’ll look forward to your walk and try to keep beating your previous record.
Persistence will result in your own achievement and you will be victorious over the couch potato trying to keep you inside and out of sight.
When is best to go?
It’s a park gym and you ought to go when you can. It is always open! (Unless the park is closed at certain times)
During the day there will certainly be fewer people and weekends may be busy, but that is not a bad thing.
You can meet others while you wait. Make new friends and workout partners. Even set times to get you to go.
Simple workout videos can be found here should you feel you need to see how the machines are used. However, the best course of action is ACTION.
Just a regular walk down to the Park Gym and a few exercises and then the walk home will be far more beneficial than planning a half-hour routine and never doing it!
Make the effort and as you develop you can start to follow a set plan and routine to develop further should you want to.
There are numerous articles about stretching today with differing opinions. The current thinking is that you should warm-up and stretch through dynamic activity. That you can do with your walk to the park. Your body will warm up and so will your muscles.
Start slow as you get going and then speed up. When you are at the Park gym, a couple of static stretches can be done when you are finished to ensure your body relaxes a little, but don’t overexert your muscles. listen to what they are saying to you.
On your walk home remember to slow down to a stroll a few minutes before you get in the door. This can constitute your cool down. Then get a big glass of water and enjoy the feeling of the workout you just achieved!
Park gyms are paid for you by you and are free to use. They have incredible health benefits and are great for meeting people. Bear in mind exercise should be positive. Enjoy it or change it. You are in the great outdoors, have a ball! (but that’s another whole post!)