Outdoor gyms: Get a move on in Joburg
From London to Diepsloot, the number of outdoor gyms in city parks in on the rise. We look at how Soweto’s latest outdoor gym in Phiri Park is helping get South Africans moving.
Opened this past weekend, the Phiri Park outdoor gym is one of at least 12 outdoor gyms in Johannesburg spread from Newtown in the city’s central business district to Eldorado Park west of the city.
According to Johannesburg City Parks Department Managing Director Bulumko Nelana, the parks are the outcome of community consultations in which residents said they wanted Johannesburg to be a “liveable city that encouraged family-friendly recreation.”
The parks also provide free access to exercise equipment to many who would not otherwise afford pricey gym memberships, said Nelana in a statement. The city hopes that the parks will help combat rising rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among South Africans.
NCDs like heart disease, cancer, diabetes are steadily killing more and more South Africans, according to a 2014 World Health Organisation report. NCDs are responsible for 44 percent of deaths nationwide. Heart disease is responsible for the bulk of these deaths followed by cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.
As of 2012, outdoor gyms were slated for 20 parks across Johannesburg including those in Alexandra, Hillbrow and Lenasia.
According to the parks department, many facilities like that in Diepslooot Park are packed during peak hours. The department adds that dedicated security personnel at each facility also double as fitness trainers
We take a look how the latest outdoor gym in Phiri Park got Sowetans moving this weekend.