Valsala Kumari, 54, a resident of Pachalam in Kochi, always wanted to join a gym but she couldn’t afford to spend a monthly fee of over Rs 1500 which a unisex gym charges these days. But ever since an open gym for the public has come up at Chathiyath road, she visits the open gym every morning to do a little bit of work out to keep her body fit.
She walks to the open gym, does some work out on the equipment and walks back home. “I am happy now. The equipment at the open gym is all enough for me. I don’t want to tone up my body like a pro bodybuilder at this age. I just want to do some warm up workouts for my legs, hips and hands,” she said.
This is not the case of Valsala Kumari alone, several city residents are making use of over 10 open gyms set up at various spots in the city by Hibi Eden MP using funds from his constituency development scheme and CSR fund of Cochin Shipyard.
Though people were initially shy in using open gyms, they have gained immense popularity in Kochi among morning and evening walkers. In fact, the introduction of open gyms has been welcomed by people with open arms. “Majority of the regular visitors spend about 10 to 20 minutes. We don’t want to spend money on expensive gym memberships. We are happy with the facilities at the open gyms,” said Pradeep Kumar, 53, a bank employee. According to him, the open gyms are gradually evolving as a spot for public gathering where people meet each other and discuss various issues even while working out on the equipment. “It’s a sort of small get togethers of people for about 20 to 30 minutes daily,” he said.