Sweden has a reputation for being amongst the fittest nations in the EU, and now, thanks to outdoor gyms across the capital, Stockholmers have no excuse for maintaining this image. Katharine Trigarszky takes a look at the exercise options that the city’s outdoor gyms provide.
Swedes love nothing more than being out in nature, and exercise certainly plays a large role in this. According to 2014 data from Eurostat, the country is among the top EU nations for exercising, coming in behind Finland and Denmark. It found that more than 53% of Swedes exercise for at least two and a half hours each week.
Over the past decade, the City of Stockholm has made it easier than ever for residents to get fit while they are out and about, thanks to the 62 outdoor gyms it has commissioned across the Greater Stockholm area.
This figure seems particularly impressive when you compare it to the numbers for the larger cities of London, at only around 100 outdoor gyms, and Berlin, at a mere 60 or so.
Stockholm’s first outdoor gym was opened south of the city centre in Björkhagen in the summer of 2009. Located close to a popular running trail, it is only 700m from the metro station and has the benefit of being lit until 10pm on autumn and winter evenings.
For those living or working centrally, there are outdoor gyms to be found in Vasastan (Vasaparken and Vanadislunden), around Gärdet (Kaknäs, Hjorthagen and Gärdet), on Södermalm (Eriksdal, Pålsundsparken and Tanto strandbad), and on Kungsholmen (Rålambshovsparken, Kungsholm strandstig and Hornsberg strand). The other gyms are spread to the north and south of the city in almost equal measure.
Many of these are located close to popular training locales and arenas or running tracks, and some are right by the water’s edge. Gyms with a view!
Most of the gyms are built fully in wood, allowing them to blend more easily into the landscape – a typically Swedish approach. Around one third of the gyms are what is referred to as “full outdoor gyms”. These feature equipment for deadlifts, pulldowns, sit-ups, dips, bench presses, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, as well as monkey bars and balance beams.
Others differentiate themselves with their equipment or environment. Both Spånga utegym and Uteträffen in Tessinparken are specifically designed with more senior users in mind, while Stora Sköndal utegym is dedicated to those with disabilities, and a number of gyms have been adapted in the past few years with better accessibility for all.
During the summer, the gym at Gärdet offers the services of on-site trainers from the adjacent Kampementsbadet outdoor pool.
And finally, for the particularly limber, the gym at Rålambshovsparken on Kungsholmen even has a pole for pole dancing practice!