Outdoor gym equipment is becoming increasingly popular as people look for alternative ways to stay fit and healthy. With the rise of sedentary lifestyles, outdoor gyms provide a fun and accessible way to get people active and improve their overall health and wellness. In this blog, we'll explore the benefits of outdoor gyms and provide examples of outdoor gym equipment to help you build a perfect outdoor gym for your community. 

Outdoor Gym vs. Park

While a park provides a space for people to play and relax, an outdoor gym offers a more structured workout experience. Outdoor gym equipment can be used to perform exercises that target specific muscle groups and help improve fitness levels. Parks are great for families and children to enjoy, while outdoor gyms are designed for people of all ages to exercise and improve their physical health. 

Sometimes, outdoor gyms can be found within local parks, while others can exist independently. The main difference is the equipment they offer and their intention. 

How to Use Outdoor Gym Equipment

Quality outdoor gym equipment is easy to use and accessible for people of all fitness levels. Most equipment is self-explanatory, with instructions or diagrams explaining how to use each piece. Some equipment, such as pull-up bars and parallel bars, can be used by people of different heights and sizes, making it easy for everyone to participate. 

Some pieces of equipment also offer adjustable resistance levels, allowing users to increase the difficulty of their workout as they progress. No matter what, outdoor gyms or parks need to have signage for each machine, and any warnings should the person begin feeling fatigued. 

Outdoor Gym Equipment Examples

There are many types of outdoor gym equipment available, each designed to target specific muscle groups and improve different aspects of fitness. GameTime's Thrive collection includes many great options that range from compact to adaptive. Here are a few general examples of classic outdoor gym equipment:

  • Pull-Up Bars – These bars can be used for upper body strength training, including pull-ups, chin-ups, and push-ups.
  • Parallel Bars – These bars are used for various exercises, including dips, leg raises, and push-ups. They also help with balance and coordination.
  • Chest Press - This machine is one of the best chest exercises for building upper body strength and can come in an accessible model. 
  • Balance Board - This fitness tool allows people to stand while performing exercises to help improve balance and posture, aid in rehabilitation, prevent lower body injuries, and increase core strength. 
  • Monkey Bars – These bars are designed for upper body strength training and can be used for exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups, and swings.
  • Rowing Machine – These machines are designed for cardiovascular exercise and can improve endurance, strength, and general fitness. 
  • Treadmills – These machines are also designed for cardiovascular exercise and boost endurance, stamina, and overall fitness levels.
  • Challenge Course - The Challenge Course, by GameTime, is a social fitness experience that allows families and friends to compete in a timed obstacle course. 
  • THRIVE Composite Structures - THRIVE fitness systems combine multiple pieces of outdoor gym equipment. They can accommodate multiple users at once, providing opportunities for personal and group outdoor fitness training in a structure of around 250 square feet.

There are some factors to consider when looking for outdoor gym equipment. Think about the available space and what kind of exercise you want to include in your community. If you're going to encourage people to do push-ups, for example, but don't have the budget for parallel bars or similar equipment, a bench can do the trick! 

The Benefits of Outdoor Gyms

Outdoor gyms provide several benefits, including:

  • Better wellness – Outdoor gym equipment provides a fun and inclusive way to get people active and improve their overall health and wellness. Getting outside also provides people a way to get much-needed vitamin D and interact with people in their neighborhoods. 
  • Increased physical activity – Outdoor gyms encourage people to be physically active and can help to reduce the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and potential obesity. 
  • Improved mental health – Outdoor exercise has been shown to improve mental health and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Accessibility – Outdoor gym equipment is designed to be accessible for people of all fitness levels and ages, making it easy for everyone to participate.

The Best Outdoor Gyms 

When it comes to outdoor gyms, there are a lot of different options. It's essential to choose the right equipment to ensure you're getting maximum value out of your investment — and providing the most benefits to your community. We briefly mentioned some things to consider, but some additional factors to think about include:

  • Durability - How long will this equipment last? Is it made from high-quality materials? Does it come with a warranty? If so, how long does it last, and how much does it cost to repair or replace parts if needed?
  • Safety - How safe is this equipment? Are there any safety features built into the design of the equipment? Is there safety surfacing around the equipment in case of a fall? Are there instructions explicitly laid out for equipment usage? 
  • Size - How big is the equipment, or how much space does it take up? Will it fit in the allotted area without being too cumbersome? 

If you're already sure of your needs and are simply looking for inspiration for your outdoor gym, here are a few of the best outdoor gyms from around the world:

  • Schaper Park - Minnesota, USA 
  • Virginia Tech University - Virginia, USA 
  • Cal Anderson Park – Seattle, USA
  • Ken Malloy Regional Park - California, USA 
  • The Garden Gym – London, UK
  • The Park Gym – Melbourne, Australia
  • Muscle Beach – California, USA
  • The Battery Park Outdoor Gym – New York, USA 
  • Stanley Park - Vancouver, Canada 

Get Started on Your Outdoor Gym Project

Whether adding outdoor gym equipment to an existing park or building an outdoor park from scratch, this equipment offers many benefits, including the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and breathe fresh air while getting a good workout. With countless equipment options, outdoor gyms are a great way to improve overall fitness and get in shape — for people of all ages! By creating a park in your community with outdoor gym equipment, you can provide a space for people to get active, better their health, and enjoy the benefits of outdoor exercise! 

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