Park Gyms: Free, fun outdoor fitness!

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Park Life

There’s no getting away from it, becoming fitter before, and after menopause, helps women to be in more control of the ageing process, to our protect hearts, bones and minds. Many women do exercise with varying degrees of regularity but too many of us don’t. Maybe because we’re time poor, lack confidence or just don’t know where to start? Menopause is an opportunity to press ‘reset’ button for looking after our body and health.

 
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In a month where the UK was identified as being in the global top 30 for inactivity, it seemed like a good time for us to take a look at the free outdoor gyms or ‘trim trails’ found in hundreds of parks across the UK. These spaces offer a range of easily accessible, well-designed training machines to encourage us all to be a bit braver, and to raise our exercise game.

The outdoor gym in the local Hot Flush park has well-designed equipment supplied by The Great Outdoor Gym Company – their equipment is in over a thousand parks in the UK, details of your nearest one can be found on local council websites. We went along to try these machines out, to see how easy they were to use, (straightforward), how comfortable we felt doing it (very), and how likely we would be to become regular users (possibly)!

There are clear instructions attached to each piece of equipment to be, explaining how to use each piece and what areas of the body they target. The suggested exercises are straightforward and easy to follow, building up in intensity so that even we couldn’t chat as we worked on the machines that targeted different parts of the body. We set about trying out each piece of equipment for our vlog Fighting Fit on outdoor gyms.

Here’s 6 reasons to try out and test outdoor gyms:

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Range of machines

There’s a good choice of machines with cardio, sit up and pull up stations on offer where clear instructions show you how to do exercises that help to develop balance, strength and co-ordination.

Totally free!

There’s no guilt attached to this exercise. No join up fee or monthly payment. With gym memberships being one expense too many, free park gyms make gym workouts accessible for all.

Space!

Machines are well spaced apart meaning you don’t have someone’s sweaty, grunting torso within arm’s length. That’s got to be a plus.

Time out

There’s nothing better for menopausal woman than taking time out for themselves. A brisk walk or gentle run to the park acts as a warm up, follow this by gentle stretches, and thenun a work out to get your heart pumping, with a cool down at the end. Kills 3 birds with one stone - exercises your body and gives you some headspace whilst benefitting from spending time outdoors.

Sunshine and showers?

Park gym can be done in any weather. Waterproof clothing - outdoor walking brands will keep you drier than sportswear-  means rain doesn’t stop play. And think how virtuous you’ll feel when you get back to your lovely, dry home?

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Routine!

Like all exercise you need to stick to a routine for it to work. Going 3-4 times and exercising for a minimum of 30 mins would be ideal but no necessarily achievable. Maybe build a weekend visit into a weekly exercise plan, to add variety?

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There’s lots of You Tube videos and online info to help you get started on a park work out. 

As always, seek medical advice before taking on a new exercise regime.

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