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Gym Machines at Parks Prove Popular

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    They've been popular in Europe, and have made their way to Canada -- could outdoor gym equipment be soon coming to a public park near you?

    Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper reports on the "incredible" growth rate of outdoor gyms in the country over the past three years: specially made elliptical trainers, leg-press machines or quad machines have sprouted in more than 140 parks in the past two and a half years.

    "The gym-makers and advocates say adding fitness equipment is a way to encourage people to live healthier, more active lives -- without the high cost of gym memberships," the article states. "A mom who is watching her children play may jump on an elliptical machine rather than sit on a bench, the thinking goes. And people with no interest in the sweaty atmosphere of a weight room may prefer to get pumped up in the fresh air."

    True, users likely won't be sweating and panting the same way they would be in an actual gym -- but that's not the point. The equipment are sort of gateway fitness tools, meant to incidentally engage nearby folks who wouldn't otherwise be exercising.

    "We've had some people say, 'Well, this is not really hard. It's not like the gym,'" said Guy Chaham, the founder of GreenGym, the manufacturer of the gym equipment. "And you know what? It's absolutely true. Those that want to go to the gym and the people that really want to lift up weight, they go to the gym anyway. We are after the other 95 per cent of the population who don't do anything. We have to have something easy enough to engage people in fitness activity."

    Officials say they sometimes see 20-minute waiting lines for some of the equipment.

    Would you support outdoor gym equipment in a park near you?