HOW TO GET FIT IN THE CITY
It was not until recent decades that cities adapted in order to integrate sport into the public arena. The cities of today aspire to increase the health of the population as a public service. In this context, urban gyms have reemerged. They represent a network of infrastructures that cities implement heterogeneously through parks, specific facilities or by designing infrastructures that favor activity.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO ADD SPORTS SPACES
Urban gyms fulfil various functions. However, above all of these, is the battle among a physically active or inactive population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical inactivity causes around 600.000 premature deaths per year in Europe and an accumulated loss of 5.3 million years of healthy life years in quantitative terms.
The agency indicates that activating the population constitutes an incalculable value for health and transport; it increases economic productivity and the level of satisfaction of the population and revitalizes neighborhoods by improving social cohesion.
FURNITURE AS AN INSTRUMENT TO CREATE URBAN GYMS
When developing genuinely urban sports spaces, planning by incorporating smart furniture comes into play.
Calisthenic parks have become increasingly popular in recent years. They consist of simple structures, “personal swings”, designed by experts to get the most out of exercise through one’s own weight.
They offer a window of physical health to the older population. Therefore, cities such as San Antonio (United States), give a special meaning to what are known as fitness stations. The municipal corporation is so committed to them that it has commissioned 35 videos to be recorded and published explaining how they work (starring the former NBA player Antonio Daniels).
INFRASTRUCTURE THAT PROMOTES PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Cities try to encourage physical activity through their infrastructures. They no longer simply want to install sports facilities, but rather transform existing spaces. Parks or green areas have become essential spaces for runners or hikers.
Likewise, reconverting streets and urban accesses has become essential in order to integrate other forms of transport such as bicycles or PMV, or permanent spaces, such as skate parks or climbing walls.
A perfect example of this is cycling in Copenhagen. The city has spent 150 million dollars in the last ten years on cycling infrastructures, which includes the construction of over a dozen bridges. In exchange, they estimate annual savings of 261 million dollars in health costs.
Green spaces and outdoor sports areas can bring a lot of benefits to modern cities. They can improve the resilience of society through a less aggressive urbanism, a commitment to health and more decongested health services.
Source: this article was published on March 10, 2021, on Tomorrow.City. Author: Jaime Ramos