Adult Playgrounds: The Rise of the Outdoor Gym
Vibrant exercise machines and work-out trails are becoming much more of a common sight in green spaces around the country. Now, it’s not just children who get to have fun and stretch their limbs during a visit to the local park. Outdoor gyms, or adult playgrounds, are gaining rapid popularity and uniting the young and the old.
Outdoor fitness began in China, where the government installed exercise equipment in parks and beaches to maintain fitness amongst the aging population. It soon became a worldwide phenomenon, as other governments realised the benefits of offering fun exercise facilities that were easy to use and completely free of charge.
The growth and popularity of outdoor fitness here in the UK is often attributed to the Great Outdoor Gym Company. This was among the very first companies to start providing this equipment to local councils up and down the country. Initially, cost and accessibility were the greatest barriers for people who wanted to exercise. But according to Charlotte Tarrant, an employee at the company, adult playgrounds eliminate all of these barriers and make the idea of exercising a lot more light-hearted. This is the main reason why outdoor gyms are becoming increasingly popular. According to research by carried out local councils, about 25% of people who now use outdoor gyms to exercise had never been in a regular habit of exercise before.
Richard Thaler is an economist who believes that the idea of government-funded outdoor fitness is rooted in ‘nudge theory’. The main idea behind nudge theory is that humans are naturally lazy and they’ll always be more inclined to select the default choice. The ‘nudge’ is something that governments put in place to gently guide us in the right direction without giving direct orders to be followed. This could be for our own good or for the benefit of society.
According to the Department of Health, every adult needs at least 150 minutes a week of physical exercise. However, very few people in Britain manage this on a weekly basis. Outdoor gyms are different because they take peoples priorities into consideration. This explains why most of them are located near to children’s playgrounds. In essence, parents get a chance to exercise while their children enjoy playing. Even those without children can feel relaxed when in exercising in open parks that people might pass through on their way to work or the shops.
Adult playgrounds and outdoor gyms are a refreshing way to keep fit and meet new people. People are less inclined to just put in their head phones and ignore what’s going on around them. They’ll want to chat to others and build friendships as they work out. Outdoor gyms are also designed in a very uncomplicated way, so that elderly people can make use of them. The over-60s make up the age group who are most often deterred from using high-tech gyms. The light-hearted nature of outdoor fitness has been a hit amongst the elderly, with some outdoor gyms being built specifically to provide light exercise for elderly joints and ease heart conditions.
Adult playgrounds are also completely free of charge, meaning that you won’t have to dedicate a monthly sum of money to paying for a gym membership. Many people believe that the popularity of the adult playground will soon be on par with children’s playgrounds. If you are looking for a way to feel energised and revitalised, then get outside and make a visit to one of these playgrounds.