Post-Olympic Outdoor Gym Craze Hits Chiswick

More equipment planned for Southfield Recreation Grounds


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Chiswick is one of the latest areas to consider the outdoor gym as part of a craze following the Olympics.

Southfield Ward Councillors intend to add new outdoor gym equipment in Southfield Rec. to the two pieces already there following a positive response from the public.

A public meeting will take place at the Southfield Ward Forum on Wednesday 11th September to discuss details such as the type of equipment and funding. Last week an online consultation was set up where residents can email the councillors with their views.

Cllr Gary Malcolm demonstrates the gym equipment

There are currently two pieces of equipment in the park: a leg press and a skier. The councillors are interested in doubling this to four pieces - each costs around £3000, including installation and securing to the ground.

Outdoor gym equipment has been something of a craze hitting local parks in London, especially since the Olympics last year. As part of the legacy, Camden has nine outdoor gyms; Richmond has installed equipment at seven locations across the borough while Hammersmith and Fulham council are consulting on placing new machines at two sites in Wormwood Scrubs.

A central tenet behind the ‘adult playground’ is that its use does not require fees, membership or the need to attend an indoor, conventional gym. Sometimes users can feel intimidated by such an environment, and so the outdoor area facilitates exercise within the confines of the park. The equipment in Southfield Rec. is also near the children’s playground, allowing parents and families to use the machines while supervising their children.

When asked about the potential for vandalism, Cllr Gary Malcolm (Lib Dem) said that only two instances have occurred in the nearby playground within the last ten years. He also explained that the addition of new equipment is part of a wider investment in Southfield Rec: new street lighting is intended for the paths, to allow pedestrians to walk through the park when dark, a problem especially pertinent in winter.

Professional classes, where customers pay an instructor for a lesson with the equipment, would be allowed to exercise with the machines in the park. However, in common in other parks, Cllr Malcolm confirmed that it is likely they would have to pay the council for a licence to make use of the area.

At a cost of £3,000 each the machines would provide value for money, the councillor believes, because little maintenance is required. An alternative could be using the money to reduce indoor-gym membership fees; however, these prices are high enough to make this unfeasible.

Here are videos of local Councillors Gary Malcolm and Andrew Steed using the current equipment in Southfield Rec:

Max Daniels

August 9, 2013

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