BENGALURU: For morning walkers, Bengaluru’s parks offer more than just a space to ramble. They also have free-for-all, open-air gyms, which is a hit among city’s residents. Many walkers express that, but for these Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike’s gyms, they would never workout. For, even as they are a health-conscious lot, buying a membership for gyms is an expensive affair.
Enter Sanjaynagar park and you will meet someone who can put several youngsters to shame. After a brisk morning walk, Sharadamma is off to the gym. Right next to her walking track is the open-air gym. The 60-year-old who hits the cross-trainer regularly motivates many others to do so as well.
Raghu V, a walker at Shankar Mutt, explains that there is so much demand to work out in these open-air gyms that many also wait for over 10 minutes to get their turn. “I see a lot of senior citizens coming there. For them, it is very convenient as the equipment is well maintained. Moreover, as it is mostly body-weight based, working out here is not very intense,” he adds.
It was at this open-air gym that he first began to workout. “Previously, I would only go for walks. I did not want to enrol in a gym. This open-air gym is a space for people of all ages and is convenient for workouts,” he says, adding, “the stigma attached with hitting a gym is also minimised to a great extent.”
For 52-year old Jyothirmayi B M, a resident of Coffee Board Layout, exercise is now fun. “I would never enrol in a gym but for this one. There are about 10 different equipments in the park. I make it a point to do the twister, leg exercises and also the arms workout there,” she says.
“Since it is available free of cost, the gym sees people from various economic strata. Senior citizens make the best use of it,” she says.
Women would like space, few hours to themselves
Now, more women frequent these open-air gyms and they say that there is a need to have few exclusively maintained for women.
Women walkers across the city express a need to have spaces reserved for them, which they say will encourage more to work out.
Rama, a resident of Mariyappanapalya who heads to a park nearby that keeps this equipment, says , “It is nice that most women who come for walks hit the gym area. Just like in conventional gyms, if certain hours can be blocked for women, many others would make it there.”
While a few parks have these equipment stacked in the centre to provide common access, there are others which have layered gyms like the one near Sankey Tank. The walkers path here has two open gyms on either ends of the walking path.
Dr Anand A R, Sankey Park Walkers’ Association, says that even at Sankey, women had sought an exclusive space or timing. “We have in fact submitted a memorandum to the elected representatives to have a women-only gym at the Park. It is in the pipeline,” he says, adding that this is on lines of the one existing in JP Park area.
Open air gyms exist in other areas including Sangolli Rayanna Park, Kaggadasapura and Indiranagar.
Arpitha Raghu, a resident of Manjunathnagar who hits a park in Shankar Mutt, says that the park’s gym is always over crowded. “There is so much rush. Even as I go to work out there, my mother feels a need to have a space exclusively for women,” she adds.