Outdoor gyms are relatively new in Australia and New Zealand, but Americans have been enjoying outdoor exercise equipment and gyms since 1933, when the now-famous Muscle Beach opened just south of Santa Monica Pier. While Muscle Beach was and continues to be an actual gym, it opened exercisers up to the concept of working out in the fresh air and sunlight. Ironically, this means that many people now ditch gyms altogether in favour of outdoor workouts.
Once outdoor exercise became mainstream, fitness fanatics discovered they could use playground equipment to perform many of the same exercises that they previously did with gym equipment. Platforms on playground equipment, park benches and stairs can be used for squat jumps, step-ups and tricep dips, to name just a few exercises. Because of this, park equipment manufacturers began designing actual outdoor fitness equipment and workout stations that allow exercisers to use their own bodyweight to work out.
Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Simple and effective equipment
Outdoor gym equipment is designed for ease of use, with simple diagrams and instructions to get you off to a great start. Many workout stations cater to more than one exercise, some even combining strength and cardio for a complete workout.
Sunlight and fresh air
Not only is spending time outside a proven way to reduce stress, it also provides the oxygen and Vitamin D necessary for peak physical health. In workout terms, this translates into keeping you at the top of your game longer, both physically and mentally, so you can push yourself much closer to your fitness goals.
More Varied Workout
Doing the same exercises in the same way means you’ll only ever work the same muscles, while neglecting a lot of other important muscle groups. The naturally uneven surfaces of grass and hills mean your body makes use of many stabiliser muscles to cope with the complex terrain. This results in a better overall workout, hitting more muscle groups for the same effort.
One of the best things about exercising outside is that you hardly ever have to wait for someone else to finish with the piece of equipment you want to use. And if your chosen park is ever a little crowded, the next park is usually no more than a short run away. To top it all off, these workouts are absolutely free!