Who said only a gym within the confinement of four walls can be the place to shed those extra kilos and stay fit? The capital has witnessed the mushrooming of a few open-air gymnasiums that have become quite a rage among all. These gyms have become a regular stop-by for Bhubaneswarites who want a dose of fresh air and work out under the sky!
It’s been a few months these open-air gyms have been inaugurated at five parks in the capital – Biju Patnaik Park near Capital Hospital, Buddha Jayanti Park near Niladri Vihar, Kelucharan Park near Netaji Enclave, Madhusudan Park near Pokhariput and Kharavela Park near Khandagiri-Udayagiri Hills – and the response has been phenomenal.
Maintained by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), these open-air gyms have increased the footfalls in the parks considerably, particularly over weekends. With its advent , people are thronging the parks from 5 am in the morning not just for their regular walk but also to reap the benefits of different gym equipment, free of cost!
The most popular is the one at Biju Patnaik Park (Forest Park) for its locational advantage. The park boasts of air walkers, sit-up benches, air swings, twisters, gliders, spinners, parallel bars and weights and people from all walks of life can be seen enjoying their precious time out there.
When MCL visited the park early in the morning, we were pleasantly surprised to see the park almost overcrowded with the fitness conscious population of the city. R.N. Mohapatra, Additional DCP, Security, who we found exercising in the twister told us, “It’s been quite a few years that I have been coming to the Biju Patnaik Park. The open-air gym is a great initiative and provides a good scope for people who want to stay fit.”
We also spotted a handful of doctors sweating it out on the parallel bars and weights. Aloka Das, gynaecologist from Bhubaneswar said, “I come every day along with my husband here and I have seen a marked improvement in my joint pain.”
With physical illnesses rising at a sharp rate with every passing day, people are becoming conscious to keep diseases at bay by making an effort to stay healthy. Pradyumna Satpathy, Editor, Subarta who was in the park with his group of mates was all praise for BDA as he told us, “Majority of people have ailments these days and diabetes in particular is a fast spreading disease, so people are becoming extra conscious to keep a control on that. I am glad BDA has come up with something as useful as this.”
Although there is no denying the fact that the open-air gymnasium concept has become a big hit among the Bhubaneswar population, there are a few who feel that most of the equipment installed in the parks aren’t too useful for the body. Ganesh Lenka, an athlete who is a regular visitor at Biju Patnaik Park said, “It is a great thing that many of these gym equipment are available at parks today but I do not see them benefiting much as most of these equipment are quite loose and do not require much effort which is not a good thing.”
Nevertheless, people are using these equipment to the best of their advantage, particularly since they come free of cost.
Biju Patnaik Park apart, another park which is equally popular among the health- conscious populace of the capital is the Buddha Jayanti Park at Niladri Vihar. It also has quite a few equipment which are motivating people to visit the park, both during mornings and evenings.
These crowded open-air gyms in the parks of the capital today are an indication that the smart city of Bhubaneswar is now also on its way to become a healthy city.