Who Is Using Outdoor Fitness Equipment and How? The Case of Xihu Park

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Apr 21;14(4):448. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14040448.


Outdoor fitness equipment (OFE) placed in public parks has the potential to encourage physical activity. However, little is known about OFE users and use patterns. This study employed onsite and video observations of OFE usage to describe user characteristics and patterns in Xihu Park. Results indicate that OFE in this park attracted considerable use, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon. During these peak-hour observations, approximately 12 users per hour used the OFE, with the majority being females and seniors. The triple arm stretch and air walker were the most popular stations. However, most OFE users interacted with less than three of the available six OFE stations. Furthermore, users spent an average of less than nine minutes on all OFE stations combined. While OFE equipment was well-used in this urban park, it appears users did not interact with OFE at rates to produce a sufficient bout or level of physical activity during their park visit. Further investigations of OFE are encouraged to determine their health impact.

Keywords: fitness zones; observational study; outdoor gym; physical activity; video monitoring.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Environment Design
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recreation