Outdoor Gyms - Will One Pop Up Near You in 2017?
6th March 2017.Think back to when you were a child; what was one of your favourite activities to engage in outdoors? If you were like most children, the answer likely involves an outdoor playground or park with lots of brightly coloured equipment. These objects challenged your spatial reasoning and the ability to navigate them with your body. Not just an excellent way for children to exercise, playgrounds are just good plain old fun for all involved. As an adult, do you ever wish that you could recapture that feeling from your youth? Exercising can be a difficult slog, and much of the gym equipment we see isn't very visually inspiring. Soon, though, you might be able to head outside into your local community for a playground-like experience perfect for adults. More and more municipalities are now looking to install "outdoor gyms." At first, it might sound counter-intuitive ? how could you put all of the equipment and objects in a gym outside? The reality is a little simpler than that. However, the outdoor gyms popping up everywhere offer much to those who avail themselves of their equipment. Let's take a closer look at what these outdoor spaces are, what you'll find there, and how to make use of them. We'll even touch on the specific benefits, too, because moving your fitness routine outdoors can be a chance for significant positive change.
What is an outdoor gym, and where can you find one?
At first glance, an outdoor gym might look just like a child's playground. There's often a cleared area, covered with mulch or a rubber surface made from recycled tyres. On top of that surface is a host of equipment, often painted in bright colours such as red or yellow. On a closer examination, though, you'll notice that these aren't items designed for children's play at all: instead, they're sturdy, more robust, outdoor versions of several exercise machines you might see indoors. They are designed to take a beating from the elements and keep on functioning; an outdoor gym is an excellent space to take in fresh air while also working out your body. There's no more natural way to work on your fitness. Often, these gyms occupy spaces near actual playgrounds or in public parks. At times, they may simply be a spot of land dedicated solely to the purpose of hosting a gym. Check the Internet or ask around to see if there are any near your area. These gyms initially gained popularity in Asia, where they functioned as an important community space. Now imported to the West, more and more people recognise the opportunity to exercise in a new environment. They're even attracting individuals who haven't worked out much at all before. So why should you take the trip to one and try out the equipment?
What are the benefits of using an outdoor gym?
First and foremost, you'll simply find more diversity among the equipment of an outdoor gym. Sure, an indoor space might have the latest and greatest electrically-powered treadmills or an advanced weight machine. However, you can?t beat the simplicity of a balance board or a captain's chair setup. These objects allow you to exercise fundamental, core areas of your body in natural ways. There's no need to spend weeks developing the right form just to use a machine without injuring yourself. Right away, that's a solid benefit to consider. However, working out in the sun has advantages of its own. Some studies have shown that outdoor exercise can enable its participants to feel more excited and engaged in their fitness. It fosters a feeling of enthusiasm and natural vigour. When you feel good about the exercise you plan to do; it's much easier to stick to your routines and follow through. Meanwhile, as you soak in the sunlight, your body will naturally produce its own vitamin D ? an essential nutrient for our general wellness. As you acclimatise to the weather outside and use outdoor gyms more, it can even have a positive impact on your mental health. Exercise on its own has already been shown to affect our moods positively; doing it outside seems to amplify those effects. All in all, it's more than a way to break up the monotony of treadmills and the weight room. It's a chance to reshape the way you approach exercise entirely and rediscover your passion for improving your body.
How to make the most of local outdoor gyms
Okay ? let's say you're convinced, and you decide to find a local outdoor gym to use to work on your physique. How can you make the most of this effort? Step one is going to involve assessing what equipment you can access at the gym. The good news is that most gyms mix up the types of equipment they install to balance between cardio exercises and strength training. That's right: you can get your cardio time in at the outdoor gym without even having to touch a treadmill. How? Look for a cardio walker, elliptical setup, or a strider. There may even be "hand cycles" available, which are like spin machines for your arms. In any case, find the cardio equipment that you like best first. Acquaint yourself with how to use it safely and practice for a while. Next, look for other items to use to build a routine. As an example, consider a chest press or a pull-down machine. These are similar to what you would find in a regular indoor gym. However, now you get the benefit of enjoying a breezy spring day while you do set after set to put in your reps for the day. To maximise the gains you get from the gym, it's best to try everything at least once. Variation will allow you some flexibility when it comes time to build out a more structured approach to fitness. When you know what provides you with gains in the areas most relevant to your goals, more effective planning is simple. Now that you've experimented with the equipment and developed a feel for the outdoor gym, what's next?
Making this type of exercise a part of your routine
Using an outdoor gym regularly won't make you more motivated as if by magic. However, the pleasant setting can make it easier to make repeat visits more likely. With a sense of your favourite equipment, start making a plan of attack. List the equipment available and then the exercises you can accomplish with them. Set some goals, and determine the number of sets and repetitions you'll need to burn the right amount of calories or build muscle. Use basic exercise guidelines to determine how many times each week you'll visit the gym. Be sure to have a backup plan for days when the weather is bad, or there are too many people using the equipment. Speaking of other people, though, they're another good reason to try one of these gyms. You'll find that, for whatever reason, chatting and making new friends is easier in this pleasant space. You can bring some other friends along or build new bridges. When you need a spotter, don't be afraid to ask someone nearby if they'll help. This spirit of cooperative exercise makes outdoor gyms stand out from their air-conditioned counterparts. You may even find that this social aspect provides you with more motivation to return to the gym and stick to your schedule. When finding motivation is often a major difficulty for most people, that's a huge advantage to have.
Are you looking for a way to rekindle your exercise excitement? Go outside!
As this trend continues to take off, it's worth keeping an eye out in your local neighbourhood. Perhaps there is even already an outdoor gym nearby you can use. Whether you choose to work out in one with friends, on your own, or with some friendly strangers, you'll get to reap the added benefits of working out in nature. As long as the weather is good, it's an excellent alternative to a routine that might be getting a bit stale. Just remember to follow any posted guidelines, use a spotter where necessary, and be a good sport. In an outdoor gym, everyone should have an equal opportunity to use the equipment. With the fun and fitness of the youthful playground transported into an adult setting, everyone wins. Follow @SportNessUK