everyone has their own pet excuse not to go to the gym. It’s expensive, inconvenient or just plain hot and sweaty.
But now there’s no reason not to work out thanks to the opening of the Capital’s first outdoor gym.
The facility at Hailes Quarry Park in Wester Hailes includes 11 pieces of equipment that offer cardio and weights-based exercise free of charge and in the open air.
They are similar to those found in a typical indoor gym, but robust enough to survive outdoors, and use resistance rather than weights.
The gym has been positioned close to the Union Canal so that people passing through on the towpath can use it as well as local residents.
It was set up by the city council and Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) with funding from the council itself and recreation charity Fields in Trust. It is part of a £300,000 scheme by Fields in Trust to set up ten outdoor gyms across the UK.
Retired cook Rena Linton, 67, of nearby Dumbryden Gardens, was one of the residents to suggest the installation of the gym when ELGT asked what she would like to see in the park.
Having already tried it out, she said: “I said, ‘I’m fed up with only having the swings, I’d like something for older people, like an outdoor gym’.
“I used to go to the gym down at Longstone but with this one you’re outdoors, so you’ve got fresh air and you’re also getting exercise and it isn’t costing you anything, which is even better. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
Projects manager for ELGT, Charlie Cumming, added: “We’ve been working with communities in Edinburgh for many years to help them get fit and active by using their local parks, woodlands, community gardens and cycleways.
“This project brings a new dimension to outdoor activity in Edinburgh and we’re delighted to have been involved in this city ‘first’.”
Included in the gym are a running machine, which operates on rollers, a stationary bicycle and assisted pull-up bars.
The gym is being opened today by city environment leader Councillor Robert Aldridge. A qualified fitness instructor will also be on hand to demonstrate the benefits of outdoor exercise and show the new equipment in action.
David Jeffrey is health and physical activity coordinator of the Wester Hailes Health Agency, which worked with local people to decide what kind of equipment to install.
He said: “It’s a great initiative to have in an area where people aren’t so well off – for Wester Hailes to have it before anywhere else in Edinburgh is a great boost.
“The equipment is like gym equipment but there are no weights. You’re doing everything against your own body resistance, so there’s a cross trainer, but with no computer. It’s just like cross-country skiing. And there’s a treadmill that’s just metal tubes.”