Outdoor gyms fight fat in SA

2012-04-05 15:32

kalahari.com

Soweto - Sweat drips down the face of a plump woman as she shuffles between exercise machines and pauses to greet passersby in Soweto's first outdoor gym, a new trend in South Africa, one of the world's fattest countries.

The facility, set in a park among tiny two-bedroom homes, has caught on with many Sowetans who are determined to lose the flab without signing expensive gym contracts.

Opened by the Johannesburg city council a month ago, the gym has seen the people of all ages pumping iron and swaying around in swing-like contraptions designed to target problem fat.

"Joining a gym has never ever crossed my mind. But this place has made things much easier for me because it is close to my house and free," said 37-year-old Chichi Mofokeng.

"I can simply walk here anytime. Doctors have repeatedly told me to lose weight and get healthy, so this is my chance," said the enthusiastic mother of two who weighs 90kg.

Affluent residents

Unlike Brazil, Britain, the US and some other countries, outdoor gyms in SA are not common, despite the pressing need to tackle the increasing obesity rates.

In 2011, the city of Cape Town unveiled its first outdoor gym on the beach front, catering for residents of affluent suburbs along the Atlantic seaboard. The city is considering to open more free gyms in other areas to promote physical wellness.

In some studies, SA could soon overtake the US as the world's fattest nation. In 2007, the Medical Research Council found that 56% of adult women and 29% of adult men in SA were overweight or obese.

Another study by a pharmaceutical company in 2010 revealed that 61% of the country's 50 million people were obese, trailing only the US and Britain.

Health authorities blame the easy access to unhealthy fast foods, with an assortment of outlets available in almost all public places, as well as a decline in overall fitness levels.

Tim Hogin, managing director of Green Outdoor Gyms, the company that provided the eco-friendly gym equipment, said he decided to get involved after reading about the staggering obesity statistics in the country.

"I was shocked by the figures. Our aim is to get people moving, fit and healthy," said Hogin.

"I realised that not everyone could afford paying for a gym membership and that was the biggest excuse for not exercising," he added.

Immovable machines

Hogin said his company plans to roll out 1 000 more gyms across the country in two years.

The immovable machines are designed to withstand the outdoor weather conditions and minor wear and tear.

Grouped together in the middle of the park, the machines could easily be mistaken for playground equipment, until they are seized by the ample-sized patrons.

"As you can see I am a bit big, so I want to get slim and healthy and encourage my children to get active. Working out is no longer reserved for the well-off, even people like us can now get fit," said Chewa Letsoale.

Soweto which has a 1.7 million population had no gymnasiums until Virgin Active, the chain owned by British mogul Richard Branson, opened its doors there last December.
Read more on:    johannesburg  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
17 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Telemarketing Night Supervisor

Cape Town
CallForce
R7 000 - R7 500 Per Month

Project Administrator

Cape Town
Cozens Recruitment Group (HEAD OFFICE)
R12 000 - R20 000 Per Month

Business Analyst (EE)

Western Cape
Datafin Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.