One of the UK’s leading outdoor fitness equipment company Proludic aims to get over one million people more active by 2020 using its range of outdoor fitness equipment. With growing obesity issues and with a marked increase in the proportion of adults that are *obese from 13.2 per cent in 1993 to 26.0 per cent in 2013 for men, and from 16.4 per cent to 23.8 per cent for women, the use of the outdoors for fitness is critical.
Having access to green spaces can have a positive impact upon a person’s health and well-being. According to research, populations in England that have high proportions of green space have better physical health and mental wellbeing. The availability of green spaces in an urban environment is also associated with increased physical activity and the associated health benefits, and with reducing health inequalities that are linked to deprivation.
Over the last six months 146,000 Knowsley residents have been using over 100 pieces of equipment including Proludic Urbanix outdoor fitness stations over fifteen sites. All of these sites are within ten minutes walking distance from every resident’s house, and fourteen were installed in some of the most deprived areas of Knowsley, to give all residents free access to high quality fitness equipment outdoors.
Knowsley’s vision was for a community wide investment plan in outdoor green gyms to provide free and accessible equipment that improved overall health and activity levels. Key to success was the strong partnership with Public Health, NHS & Park Rangers. This was supported with personal trainers working closely with local residents and partners.
Knowsley’s community health development team ran a 10-week pilot at two sites with the main one being at Jubilee Park for local residents over 10 sessions. 90% of residents turned up each week, and around 75% are still exercising as a group after delivering the exercise sessions. This is a great success story and proves outdoor fitness interventions work.
Proludic managing director Rob Baker commented: “We are delighted to hear these first set of results on the Knowsley outdoor fitness initiative. It was Proludic’s mission to deliver sustainable facilities in two very specific ways. Firstly, by offering a wide variety of opportunities from trails, to gyms to orienteering so that exercise could remain fun and that there was something that would appeal to everyone to help us try and reach out to a new demographic.
“Secondly, where we have provided outdoor gyms, that our second generation ‘Proludic Urbanix’ product would deliver the opportunity for people of all abilities to get more involved in free exercise and get fitter. Most outdoor gyms are traditionally weight bearing but our unique hydraulic piston system enables users to increase the resistance settings from 5kg up to 60kg’s and this really does help motivate our users to come back again and again as they feel the progression they are making”
Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Customer Services, Councillor Eddie Connor said: “Public Health has worked in partnership with the council to develop more innovative approaches to encourage people to get outdoors and get fit for free. These green gyms enable people of all ages and abilities to take getting active in scenic, outdoor locations.”
The partnership is a great example that any local authority or organisation can provide free and accessible facilities for their community, making a difference to obesity levels and overall health and wellbeing.
Learn more about why the partnerships was possible at http://www.proludic.co.uk/news-great-green-gyms-knowsley/ or https://vimeo.com/188640539