Outdoor gyms: making the most of outdoor spaces this summer
Summer is the perfect time for gym and fitness club owners to make the most of their outdoor spaces, thanks to the season’s longer days and warmer weather. As a matter of fact, outdoor fitness is a trend that’s particularly vital for you to take advantage of now, with outdoor gyms and classes experiencing a notable surge in popularity over the past few years.
One prime example of the growth of outdoor gyms is the Great Outdoor Gym Company (the UK’s main supplier of outdoor gym equipment), who, since 2008, have provided nearly 800 outdoor gyms across the world. As The Telegraphreported at the beginning of last year, they sold 190 of their gyms in 2016, compared to 113 in 2015, and just 87 in 2014.
With there being so many benefits to working out in the great outdoors, it should come as no surprise that the demand for outdoor gyms is on the rise. It’s simple to understand; with the weather generally being better in summer, people feel more motivated to get up and moving. Not only that, but no one wants to be stuck in a hot and sweaty gym during a heatwave!
Walking, running, and cycling outside can also improve the quality of your workout and stop you from getting bored of staring at the same white walls. This is because you’re required to contend with windy conditions, winding paths, and uneven terrain.
Making the most of your gym’s outdoor spaces
If you have extra outdoor space that’s not being used in your premises, then the most obvious solution for gym owners wanting to jump on the trend is to install their own outdoor gym, complete with state-of-the-art fitness machines that have been made to withstand the various weather conditions that the UK is very familiar with. In fact, there’s now a wide range out outdoor gym equipment to choose from, including cross trainers, chest presses, cycles, rowers, leg presses, chin up bars, and hurdles.
However, this won’t be possible for smaller gyms and fitness clubs that are lacking in outdoor spaces. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get your members exercising outside, and make the most of the outdoor spaces you do have access to.
For example, if you have an overflow car park on-site, this space can be used for fitness classes at times when your gym experiences a lower volume of traffic. Alternatively, if your premises are located within walking distance of a local park, you should see if you can hold classes here, as well as take advantage of any running and cycling trails they have.
Though it may not seem like it, there are a number of fitness classes that can be taught outdoors. The most obvious option is a running club, though any class that doesn’t require you to use a large amount of heavy equipment or exercise machines can be moved outside. Some great examples include Pilates, yoga, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Boxercise, kettlebells, and Zumba.
Ellie McMahon, Owner of Lillako Coaching, says: “Keep it simple. Bodyweight exercises and small apparatus like skipping ropes, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are perfect for outdoor sessions.
“Additionally, some of the best classes you can take outside are boxing, bootcamps, strength and conditioning sessions, and even ‘mums and bubs’ sessions!”
An outdoor boot camp is also a great class to offer in the summer months (if you have the space), and it’s one that’s become increasingly popular because it improves your balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance. Featuring a variety of exercises without breaks, it raises your heart rate and stops you from getting bored of your workout in a hurry.
Boot camp classes are also best completed outside because uneven terrain adds additional challenges, resulting in a better workout that even your most seasoned gymgoers are sure to feel the benefits of as they make the most of the cool breeze and warm sunshine of the great outdoors.
Dave Mace, Head Coach at Maximum Potential Calisthenics, says: ” I love training outdoors, living in Sydney gives me a unique opportunity in that it’s sunny year long and doesn’t rain too often. Working out with beautiful surroundings like Bondi Beach and Sydney Observatory Hill Park gives you not only the endorphins from a good workout, but also from the fresh air and scenery that you just can’t get in an indoor gym.
“Calisthenics or body weight strength training…
is a great way to workout outdoors because it requires minimal equipment (usually just a pull-up bar) and help builds a great physique, whilst being fun at the same time.”
Jack East Director at EASTkids and EAST Fitness, adds: “Outdoor exercise has many benefits, including the fact that it provides the perfect environment for the entire family to engage in physical activity together. Typically, children are not allowed to enter fitness centres, which means that parents more often than not exercise alone. Outdoor fitness, including fun boot camps, walking and hiking, can be adjusted (as far as their intensity and complexity goes) so that all family members feel a sense of achievement, not just the super athletic or fit participants.
“The majority of fitness centre classes can be run outdoors. Exercise-to-music formats as well as pre-choreographed options may present more of an issue with their requirement for equipment and motivating music. HIIT programs, boot camps and running-related classes are all excellent options for outdoor programming. They also have widespread appeal.
“Outdoor programming also presents an opportunity for fitness centres to supplement their existing group fitness timetable offering with a secondary outdoor timetable (of sorts). As well as providing a new source of revenue, these class options also add variety and depth to the centre’s offering.”