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An outdoor gym is being installed at Petrus Molefe Eco-Park, where people will be able to train and keep fit, all for free.
CITY Parks is continuing to set trends. Once again, the municipal entity is bringing exciting facilities to the community; this time, however, it is setting up an outdoor gym in a park.

The gym equipment is built to withstand any weather conditionsThe gym equipment is made of weatherproof meterialThe gym is being erected at Petrus Molefe Eco-Park in Soweto, it is the first free to use outdoor gym in a disadvantaged area in a Joburg public park. In carrying out the project, City Parks has partnered with Green Out Door Gym, with is supplying the equipment and implementing the model.

Equipment installation began today and the gym will be opened on 28 February. And unlike other gyms that only cater to fee-paying members, the outdoor gym will be open to anyone, free of charge. But the equipment will be no different from that found at indoor gyms.

There will be treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes, weights and cross trainers, all permanently mounted in the park. The equipment is made out of robust weatherproof material, enabling it to withstand rain, sun and cold.

And it is designed for use by people of all ages and fitness levels. The initial phase will consist of eight double-sided pieces of equipment, allowing 16 people simultaneous use. More equipment will be added should there be a great demand, according to City Parks’ manager of corporate projects and funding, Bohlale Mohlathe.

Mohlathe says it will create a culture of family outings to parks. It will also allow adults to train while keeping an eye on children playing in the park. Local sporting clubs will also have free use of the equipment for their physical training.

“South Africa is known to be the second most obese nation in the world. This project, once launched, will address this crisis, currently dubbed the national fat attack,” explains Mohlathe.

In addition, the Biokinetics Association of South Africa will allocate biokineticists to visit the project once a month at no cost to the community and City Parks.

Biokinetics is the science of movement and the application of exercise in rehabilitative treatment or performance. The profession is concerned with health promotion, the maintenance of physical abilities and final phase rehabilitation by means of scientifically based physical activity programme prescription.

Biokineticists have to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

The outdoor gym is also geared at investing in public open spaces and to lure the community into using public space more.

The question of safety has also been addressed. “The project will increase park safety as it includes 24-hour security and is funded by the donor company, Green Out Door Gym.”

To establish the safety of the equipment, City Park’s safety, health, environment and quality division has checked its compliance with the set safety standards. It will also conduct regular safety checks.

A caretaker appointed to the gym will also be trained as an instructor. Duties will include reporting any repairs needed on the equipment.

Mohlathe says local residents will be employed during installation. “There will be temporary jobs created during the installation and permanent local jobs generated for the permanent phase of the project – security and maintenance staff.”

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