Outdoor gyms located at parks and beaches were used far more often compared to outdoor gyms in residential areas. More men and younger adults compared to women and older adults trained in the outdoor gyms.
For the attention of: Town planners and health promotion professionals.
The problem: Not enough is known about how infrastructure can promote physical activity for all. Outdoor gyms are one possible way to enable everyone equally to be active. However we need to increase our understanding of how to achieve high use.
What we did and why: We identified preferable locations within the town and adjacent facilities that may promote increased use of outdoor gyms. An observational study was performed at 18 outdoor gyms in three towns in Israel. About 1000 individual were observed at these outdoor gyms. In addition, observations included location, other facilities and the mean number of users per hour in each outdoor gym.
What our study adds: We found that
Outdoor gyms located at parks and beaches had the highest volume of trainees compared to outdoor gyms in residential areas.
Outdoor gyms with more equipment devices were used more often than those with less equipment.
More men and younger adults compared to women and older adults trained on the equipment.
Implications for city policy and practice: The study suggests two possible options, the first is to invest in outdoor gyms located in parks and beaches and less in outdoor gyms in residential areas around the town. The second option is to invest in promoting use of the outdoor gyms in residential areas by educational methods and social marketing of the outdoor gyms and add facilities adjacent to the outdoor gyms that enhance use.
Full research article: Factors impacting the use of outdoor gyms, Israel as a case study by Orna Baron-Epel and Iris Ran