Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Outdoor gyms and older adults – acceptability, enablers and barriers: a survey of park users

Vicki Stride A C , Leonie Cranney A , Ashleigh Scott B and Myna Hua A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Health Promotion Service, GPO Box 1614, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia.

B Former South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Health Promotion Service, GPO Box 1614, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: vicki.stride@health.nsw.gov.au

Health Promotion Journal of Australia 28(3) 243-246 https://doi.org/10.1071/HE16075
Submitted: 29 June 2016  Accepted: 6 January 2017   Published: 6 March 2017

Abstract

Issue addressed: Increasing the proportion of older adults meeting current recommendations for physical activity is important. This study aimed to determine the acceptability of outdoor gym use among older adults by assessing their outdoor gym use, intention to use, motivators, frequency and preference for use, and barriers and enablers to use.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with 438 consenting English speaking park users ≥ 50 years after installation and promotion of an outdoor gym.

Results: Forty-two percent of older adults interviewed had used the outdoor gym. Outdoor gym users had a significantly higher proportion of local residents (χ2 = 10.43; P < 0.01), were more frequent park users (χ2 = 8.75; P < 0.01) and spoke a language other than English (χ2 = 15.44; P < 0.0001) compared with general park users. Shade and different equipment types were the most cited enablers.

Conclusions: Outdoor gyms may be an acceptable form of physical activity for older adult park users. Installations should offer a variety of equipment types and shade.

So what?: Outdoor gyms are a potential equitable approach to engaging older adults in a variety of physical activity types. Social and physical benefits of outdoor gym use in high risk groups for physical inactivity should be explored.

Key words: built environment, local government, older people, physical activity.


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