In your travels around Australia, you’ve probably noticed that outdoor gyms are popping up in caravan holiday parks, public parks and near playgrounds all over the place. Some caravan holiday parks even offer decked out indoor gyms to help keep you fit while on the road.
Caravan holiday parks have always provided great facilities and now councils around Australia are increasingly taking the initiative to help their residents get fit and healthy by installing a new generation of outdoor gyms in public areas and open spaces. These are great to take advantage of when you are caravanning around the country. A little bit of exercise will mean you can enjoy all the fine foods and wines on your travels without the guilt!
Outdoor gym setups are generally free to use and they also feature innovative equipment that is cleverly designed to enable you to alter your level of effort without needing to modify the equipment settings. Another big plus is that you can make your exercise routine a social activity by inviting others to join you or striking up a conversation with other people using the equipment.
Professor Adrian Bauman of Sydney University said, “Older adults in Australia are the least active group in the country and they often don’t utilise our parks, however, the sooner older adults realise that this style of fitness equipment is suitable for them to use, the sooner we should see more enjoying our outdoor environments”.
So here are four reasons why travellers both young and old should give exercising on outdoor gyms a go:
Exercise stations are often set up in parks or other outdoor community spaces. Even at home we live in a time where many of us don’t know our neighbours and when travelling, we are even further away from our regular social networks. So getting outdoors and getting to know the people around you is a great way to make friends and to stay motivated in reaching your daily activity goals.
More than half of older adults are insufficiently active for good health, even though exercise is imperative for improving both physical and mental health. The recommendation for adults is to be active every day for at least 30 minutes in total. So the days you aren’t enjoying bushwalks or scenic hikes on the road, see if you can keep active by having a play on the grown-up equipment at the park!
The exercise set ups in outdoor gyms often have detailed yet easy to follow instructions for how to use the equipment. For the tech-savvy, some even have QR codes for each item that link to videos demonstrating the exercises once you scan them with your smart phone. You’ll also find many stations and pieces of equipment that are made specifically with older adults in mind to help improve balance and coordination.
We live in such a beautiful country with a great climate, so why not make the most out of it and get outside and soak up that vitamin D! While sun safety is always important, a few minutes of sunshine a day is not only great for your bone health but it’s also great for your mind as well.
So next time you spot an outdoor gym either in a local park or in your caravan holiday park, wander over and check it out. Outdoor gyms are playgrounds for active adults so have some fun!
This is an edited version of a story that first appeared in The Retiree. The Retiree Magazine is the ultimate lifestyle publication for those that are retired, semi-retired or approaching retirement and, most importantly, those who believe that life really does begin at 50!