The Rise In Outdoor Gyms

A new exercise trend is taking the fitness world by storm. Can you guess what it is? No, it’s not one of those snazzy indoor cycle bikes. Yes, those are very cool and all, but this fitness trend blends the benefits of getting fresh air while improving your health through exercise. That’s right, we’re talking about outdoor gyms, aka “adult playgrounds.”

The Evolution and Popularity of Outdoor Gyms

Believe it or not, the concept of an outdoor gym isn’t new at all. In fact, the first outdoor gym in the U.S. is Muscle Beach, which opened in 1934. It’s popularity rose in the 1980s when it was frequented by famous bodybuilders, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno. 

Nowadays, you can find public outdoor gyms all around the world. Adult playgrounds are actually quite popular in both Europe and Asia. In fact, as of 2017, exercisers in China could find more than 600,000 pieces of outdoor gym equipment for their outdoor fitness needs. And, it’s been reported that over 40% of China’s population is taking advantage of these free outdoor gyms.

And, in 2017, it was reported that there were more than 60 different places with outdoor exercise training equipment in the city of Denmark. 

And, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor gyms are becoming even more popular. 

Who Uses Outdoor Gyms

The beauty of free outdoor gyms is that they are available to anyone who wants to use them. According to Athletic Business, outdoor gyms are inviting to a wide variety of demographics because they are built to accommodate people of all ages and athletic abilities, including marathon runners, beginners, teens, people hoping to get in better shape, senior citizens, you name it!

Where You Can Find Outdoor Gyms

The majority of adult playgrounds are located in public spaces, like parks, along walking trails, next to playgrounds, community plazas, beaches, boardwalks, etc. 

Benefits of Outdoor Gyms for Exercisers 

1. Outdoor gyms often offer a wide variety of high-quality equipment.

Because adult playgrounds are outdoors and used by tons of people, they have to be sustainable. So, more often than not, an outdoor gym is going to have a wide variety of high-quality equipment. Also, a lot of the equipment lends itself to bodyweight and HIIT workouts

2. They are always open. 

Another great thing about outdoor gyms is that they are accessible 24/7/365. Whether you need to workout at 5:00 a.m. before you go into work or you need to get your workout in at midnight, a public outdoor gym is always open. 

3. Working out in the fresh air has so many health benefits. 

According to Medium, working out outside “has greater health benefits than indoor activity.” Spending time outside is just so good for you. Couple that with exercising, and you are getting more bang for your fitness buck. 

Some of the benefits of exercising outside include:

  • Improved mood
  • Better self-esteem
  • Increased energy
  • Vitamin D exposure
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased depression
  • Improved immune system due to exposure to plants and trees

4. Outdoor gyms are free!

Say goodbye to your expensive monthly gym membership! 

5. Working out outside reduces the chances of catching COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Unfortunately, indoor gyms are breeding grounds for spreading germs. And, while many gyms have mask mandates in place, according to Cassandra Pierre, an infectious disease physician and assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine and I-Min Lee, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, heavy breathing and sweat can moisten your mask, which contaminates it and reduces its effectiveness in keeping you safe from outside secretions. And, plus it’s not always easy to social distance at an indoor gym, especially at a peak time when it’s more crowded than usual. 

Both Pierre and Lee make it clear that “outdoor workouts are your best option in terms of safety.”

Benefits of Outdoor Gyms for Communities

1. Outdoor gyms are a gentle nudge to community members to be more active. 

According to Medium, due to their location and accessibility, outdoor gyms provide a gentle nudge to people to get a workout in while they are out and about. Outdoor gyms are essentially “in the way” of people, which helps get them to exercise. 

2. Outdoor gyms are an investment in the fitness and health of community members. 

When either a public or private entity builds an outdoor gym in the community, it shows that they are investing in the fitness and overall health of their community’s residents as well as encouraging healthier lifestyles. 

3. They allow those who can’t afford gym memberships the ability to exercise.

Gym memberships aren’t always cheap. And, sadly, not everyone has room in their budget to splurge on a gym membership. Outdoor gyms provide free access to those who may not be able to exercise otherwise. 

4. Outdoor gyms can strengthen communities.

Outdoor gyms can bring a community’s residents together and can increase social ties because they allow people of all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to exercise together. And, according to Athletic Business, this is especially important for the senior population, who are often isolated and tend to “like social engagement when working out,” which is something they don’t always get inside a gym. 

5. They improve parks and other public spaces.

Installing an outdoor adult playground at an existing park or other public area is a great way to bring new energy into that space. 

At the end of the day, building an outdoor gym in your community is an investment in the health of your residents. It can also improve your community’s parks as well as build a strong sense of community among your residents. 

Southeast Outdoors Solutions Offers Everything You Need For An Outdoor Gym

We can provide customizable outdoor gym equipment design, installation, repair, and maintenance services for communities in AL,GA, MS, NC, SC, and TN.​ Whether you need stand alone pieces of equipment or a combination of structures, we can help!

Learn more about our Outdoor Fitness & Exercise solutions. Or check out our catalog to view some of the products we carry.