People in south Belfast can now get fit in a fresh way at a newly launched outdoor gym at Blythefield in the Sandy Row and Village area.
Funded by Belfast City Council and the Public Health Agency under the Active Belfast Programme, the gym is the first of its kind in the Belfast council area and has been installed in consultation with the local community.
Today (Monday, 1 October) the gym was officially opened, and members of the community can now try a range of exercises including air walking, hip twisting and ski cross country all in one place.
The outdoor gym is suitable for all fitness levels and is free to use. Councillor Bernie Kelly, Deputy Chairman of the Parks and Leisure Committee, said:
“Active Belfast which has funded this gym aims to promote healthy living and increase physical activity. We are working with partners across the city to set up a range of free activities, which fall under the categories of active living, active leisure and sport.
“This is the first of nine park gyms opening in the city all of which have been put in place in consultation with local communities. We will be opening the others between now and Christmas as part of our £150m physical investment programme in the city.
“Exercising in fresh air provides an extra bonus in terms of mental and physical health and this equipment is suitable for all ages.
“We are not saying you have to go hammer and tong on this equipment, it can be used for toning. For example, the hip twister can help older people keep hip joints mobile. It is the small active things that we do regularly that make the difference to overall health.”
The new gym offers five exercise stations providing a mix of cardiovascular, strength and toning equipment.
Public Health Agency Chief Executive, Dr Eddie Rooney, said: “The Public Health Agency is delighted to support this open air gym in the heart of the community in Sandy Row and the Village. It forms part of an innovative programme to provide outdoor gyms across the city to help people get active, which we are funding alongside Belfast City Council.
“Physical activity produces real benefits for people and is important for all ages. It can help you keep a healthy weight and feel better, and can also help improve your mood, reduce anxiety and protect against depression.
“These gyms provide a fantastic opportunity to get fit on your own doorstep and I would encourage people to try them out for themselves.”
Other outdoor gyms are planned for Ligoniel Park, Falls Park, Grove Park, Musgrave Park, Ormeau Park, Orangefield Park and Mountforde Play Space.
Active Belfast is supported by Belfast City Council, the Public Health Agency and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.