Fit for life as new outdoor gym opens in Studland

An outdoor gym has opened in Studland to help locals stay fit and has already proved a huge success with villagers of all ages.

Six pieces of all weather keep fit equipment have been installed at the Studland playing field, including a cross trainer, a seated leg press and an air walker.

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Villagers tried out the new gym equipment under the watchful eye of personal trainer Emily Prince

Designed to be a social space

The fun fitness facility was officially opened on Saturday 28th October 2023 and dozens of locals dropped by during the first few hours to try them out with the help of personal trainer Emily Prince.

Emily demonstrated how to use the various pieces of equipment correctly and in the most beneficial way, while Studland WI provided free tea, coffee and cake for visitors.

The site in Heath Green Road has been designed for social interaction, where people can use the equipment and still be able to talk to each other,

An earlier plan for having them spread around the playing field in a keep fit trail was dropped in favour of having a collective area where people can mingle.

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Swanage personal trainer Emily Prince advised how best to use the new machines

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An arm and pedal bike proved popular on the opening day

Idea came from the villagers

Tim Watton, Studland Parish Council clerk, said:

“We see it as a communal place for social chat where people can go from piece to piece and still be able to talk to each other, or where mums and dads, or grandparents, can use the equipment while their children play in the park and still keep an eye on the children.

“The idea came from the villagers themselves after Studland’s skateboard ramp, a timber structure, was beginning to rot and needed so much work to bring it back up to safety standards that it was felt the best thing to do was demolish it.

“The parish council consulted with local residents over whether a replacement was a good idea, or whether it was better to replace the ramp with other features.

“We set up a working group with councillors and local residents, put a questionnaire in the parish magazine and the most popular suggestion was to install outdoor gym equipment, which could be used by all ages.”

Outdoor gym equipment has been installed next to the children’s play area

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The new equipment was voted a great success – and lots of fun

Safety surface also installed

Councillors then visited similar equipment at Days Park, Swanage, and in other Dorset towns and villages, to find out more about what equipment was available, and especially about its ability to resist salt corrosion from the sea air.

After a budget of £20,000 was approved for the facility, an arm and pedal bike, an elliptical cross trainer, a seated leg press, an air walker, a self weighted rowing machine and a combination shoulder and leg press were installed on the playing field.

A safety surface for the exercise area has also been installed as part of the total cost, with villagers declaring that the outdoor gym is a perfect addition to the field.

The outdoor equipment has been selected to offer low impact cardio, strength and resistance, for a gradual build up of confidence, strength and ability over time.

In addition, exercisers will also get added benefits of fresh air, natural daylight and sunshine which are proven to increase serotonin and make people feel happier.

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Studland WI served tea and cake to those who visited the new outdoor gym

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Young and old alike were keen to have a go on the cross trainer

Skate ramp reached end of its life

Parish councillor Chrissie Neville said:

“The opening event on Saturday was a great success, with locals from all age groups coming along to try the equipment, and we were very grateful to local personal trainer Emily Prince for showing us how to use the equipment safely.

“Outdoor gym equipment was the most popular suggestion to replace the skate ramp when that reached the end of its life, and judging by the turnout on the day we have lots of local residents who are looking forward to making use of it on a regular basis.

“Some talked about putting it in as a regular part of their routine whilst others talked about the need to bring something to wipe down the equipment following rain. All in all, a very positive start!”

Further information

  • Stay in touch with all the news from Studland Parish Council on its website
  • Swanage personal trainer Emily Prince can be contacted via her website

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