Healthy Outdoor Exercise For All

Play is not just for children and should be embraced by adults too.

Have you seen an urban outdoor gym in a park near you? In recent years, councils have been trying to tackle our national couch potato problem by investing in obstacles and machines in public outdoor spaces that are free, and easy to use.

That is the belief of founders of Playful Being, thought to be the first British organisation to focus on “reawakening playfulness” in adults, who believe dedicating more time to indulging in fun games and experimenting without fear of failure is crucial to “reigniting creativity”.

These spaces have been designed to provide low-impact training in an intuitive and easy way. The various machines target the lower body, upper body and core, not to mention cardiovascular and weight-based strength exercises. Some boast wooden obstacles – parallel bars, hurdles, leapfrog, step-ups, pull-up bars and benches. Others feature more recognisable gym machine equipment – cross-training machines and weights for resistance work.

Jessica Penrose and Mel Taylor, who have backgrounds in creative facilitation and improvised comedy, explained why play is so important for grown-ups at Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival (WOW) at the Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas at Cambridge Junction on 26th October. Watch this space for details of the next WOW Festival in March 2015.

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