Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs joined residents, fitness instructors and parks staff at a fun day on Monday 13 August for the launch of the outdoor gym at Sir John McDougall Gardens on the Isle of Dogs.
Seven new urban outdoor gyms have opened in Tower Hamlets parks, enabling residents to use their local parks to improve their fitness and get active without the need for expensive gym memberships.
The urban gyms were suggested by residents who took part in GP patient participation groups. The council’s sports, parks and public health teams have jointly commissioned them as ‘Our Parks’ using Section 106 funding¹. The urban gyms are part of a social prescribing service that GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals can refer patients to to offer them additional support to improve their health and well-being.
It is estimated that 20-30 per cent of the adult population in Tower Hamlets is clinically obese due to a lack of physical activity, limited access to green spaces, poverty and the widespread availability of cheap, unhealthy food.
Mayor John Biggs, said: “Tower Hamlets has a problem with obesity and we recognise how important physical activity is for improved physical and mental health and wellbeing. Our new outdoor training facilities give residents an opportunity to exercise in the fresh air, improving their fitness levels and having fun at the same time.”
The gyms include parallel bars, cross trainers, smart energy hand bikes, benches and sprint tracks. And the council is running free weekly instructor-led exercise group workouts at each of the venues.
Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We all know that keeping fit is brilliant for your health, and the launch of outdoors gyms at various parks across our borough is great news for local people who can now access free, easy-to-use and suitable for all ages equipment, without paying for an expensive gym membership.
“Physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, and regular exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 per cent. I encourage local people to make use of these new free-to-access facilities, and reap the many benefits exercise can provide.”
Councillor Amina Ali, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit said: “Our fantastic new outdoor gym equipment is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels to use. You can literally access it on your doorstep whenever you want. I encourage everyone to get out and use it’’.