Taking fitness a notch higher is Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC)’s move to increase the number of open gyms in 38 public parks across the city. With six parks functional in five zones, namely Dr AS Rao Nagar Park, Gulmohar Park, Imliban Park, Indira Park, Krishnakanth Park and Nehru Nagar Park, the news of expansion has brought much cheer among citizens.

The six parks were made with the vision to improve fitness levels where the general public can make use of equipment for less strenuous exercises that target legs, shoulders, chest, hips and arms. Installed by the Sports Department of the GHMC, the machines are installed with a sanctioned budget of Rs 51 lakh and are on the path to betterment.

Srinivas Goud, Sports Inspector of the Secunderabad Zone, GHMC, says, “These open gyms are well-received by the public, especially appreciated by the senior citizens. After they are done with walking, these apparatus assist them with hand, leg and hip exercises. We have just opened two outdoor gyms in North zone so far, one in Lalapet and the other in Nehru Nagar. Proposals are made to set up more parks in the zone, but, we would be proceeding based on public response in the area.”

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The parks currently have closer to 10 machines for leg press, leg stretch, vertical shoulder pull, bench presses, rowers, and a suspension station that looks like a VFX machine. With a breath of fresh air alongside a daily dose of cardio, these open-air gyms can be a cost-effective answer to lean muscle fitness.

Clinically known to be a suppressor of stress and blood pressure, open-air workout spaces save space, promote exercise as a social experience for those who are body-conscious and also give the individual a different environment to train in. It also helps one bask in early morning sunshine which is rich in vitamin D.

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Son of a septuagenarian, Vamshi Krishna Doli shares, “My dad has retired now and he spends his time mostly on leisure. These parks definitely make sure he starts working out.”

For all the beginners who subscribe to high-end yearly gym packages and stop them midway, outdoor gyms like these might play the evaluator, says celebrity fitness trainer, Marshall Micheal.

“It is the first step forward for people who want to take up fitness. Since they are multi-function equipment, they might be of help for those above 60 years of age. But, for overall fitness, one must have a trainer present to avoid injuries.”

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While the fitness community complains about a lack of precautionary measures, the GHMC representative says these machines are not to compete with professional fitness centres. “The installations help with general fitness; these are light machines which are made for the young and the old alike, and do not involve heavy lifting. They are made with Cesium, keeping altering weather conditions in mind.”

Raving about the positive feedback to the open air gyms, T Prashanthi, AE, GHMC, expresses her glee over the fact that she sees more women using the workout equipment, apart from men and children. #KhabarLive