Soweto has plans for the obese

The R260,000 outdoor gym at the Petrus Molefe eco park is aimed at reducing the number of obese people in the country.

Tim Hogins from Green Outdoor Gyms says too many South Africans are overweight.

“We have a problem with obesity in this country. We are the second-most obese country in the world,” Hogins says.

The gym is a partnership between Green Outdoor Gyms and Johannesburg City Parks. Residents can use the gym for free.

The gym has 10 sets of equipment which can accommodate 20 people at a time. Hogins says the equipment cannot be stolen because it is mounted to the ground in concrete and it is weather-proof.

The equipment includes treadmills and bikes and there is also an aerobics section. There are no shower facilities.

“We are happy that this not only helps with fitness but it does its part for the environment because all the equipment here doesn’t need electricity to work,” Hogins says.

All the equipment is manually operated.

Hogins says they will be financing the maintenance and security for the gym and will work with Biokinetics Association of South Africa for health and fitness guidelines.

Similar outdoor gyms will also be launched in other areas – including two more in Soweto.

City of Johannesburg executive mayor Parks Tau endorsed the gym and praised initiatives such as these that aim to better the city and the people of Johannesburg.

Tau also outlined lifestyle choices as one of the major contributing factors of diseases.

“I am especially thrilled to partner with such an initiative to help with the challenge of these diseases,” he said.

After a rather challenging aerobics session, Tau officially opened the gym for service where instructors demonstrated the use of the equipment to delighted Dlamini residents.

Sibongile Zuma, a resident, is thrilled with the new gym.

“I will definitely be using the gym because I used to go to the gym before I got a leg injury,” she says, already decked out in her gym attire.

“As a community we will stand together and take care of this gym and discipline anyone who tries to misuse it,” she insists.

Zuma added that there is a definite need for this gym as she often sees people jogging on the streets and this would be more convenient.

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