Residents of Holon – outdoor gyms are there for you – use them!

 Many people live a lifestyle, which, to put it mildly, is not too healthy. This is not the case that we do not know how important it is to get up from one’s chair or take an occasional stroll … somehow, it simply never happens. We see the gym mainly through the car window on our way home; we spend long day sitting at the office, with air conditioning which is too warm in the winter and too cold in the summer, in shining fluorescent light, grabbing snacks such as coffee and cookies/puff pastries/chocolates (or whatever refreshments are served); our working day ends very late in the evening, which, in turn ends in front our TV set computer or smart phone. This is the daily menu of many.

 While in the past, illnesses and death were mainly caused by infectious diseases and food insufficiency, in the era of affluence, diseases are mainly chronic, and are the very result of lack of physical activity and malnutrition. Our lifestyle abounds with a wide range of industrialized food, enriched with chemical additives. These, in addition to lack of physical activity cause health damage from childhood. At present day we can see larger numbers of overweight kindergarten and elementary school children. Overweight adults are even commoner, despite the general feeling of high awareness, wide knowledge and gyms existing almost everywhere – at the local mall or neighborhoods.

 It has been several years ago since Holon declared itself a “Healthy, Sustainable City” taking responsibility for environmental factors influencing human health and encouraging a healthy lifestyle from early childhood. Programs such as Education for Healthy Eating Habits have been applied in kindergartens around the city even before the Israeli ministry of education declared Healthy Food as a subject of focus. Healthy days, city jogging and other healthy events, gyms for adults and ones specially adapted for children are already on offer in Holon.

 We learned that one of the most useful ideas applied in Holon are the fitness facilities placed in many open spaces and public parks around the city. These are “outdoor gyms” which are open to the general public and are on offer free of charge. They are suitable for ages 14 years and above, for the purpose of maintaining residents’ health and fitness.

 A survey we have recently conducted reveals that many people use the facilities and jogging trails, both as individuals and as groups. Maintaining one’s fitness has turned into a popular activity among individuals, couples and groups. A great demand for such activities was salient among retirees (younger or older), who, in contrary to common belief, are rather busy people who use their time to take part in activities they did not have a chance to earlier in life. One of the main issues occupying this age group is how to maintain one’s mental and physical capabilities in older age, which, at present day is no longer considered “the end of the road” but rather, the beginning of a new one.

 Holon also features two fitness areas accessible to people with disabilities – one is located in Holon’s city park between Hahistadrut and Homa Umigal streets and the other one is located at Shomron Park, between Holon Theater and Beit L’hyiot. Both areas were founded for the purpose of providing a fully accessible city to all.

I would like to invite adolescents, on their free time, mothers taking their younger children to the public park, parents whose children have grown up and have some more time to themselves and in fact anyone – to go out, take a deep breathe of refreshing winter air and start moving.

It is healthy for your body and crucial for your soul.