Our Parks has brought an amazing range of free fitness sessions to the park, from Mums & Tots Bootcamp to Yoga

Have you tried one of the free outdoor fitness sessions from Our Parks UK in the park yet? Since opening our new green park space earlier this year, there has been a range of great activities for all of the local community to enjoy. Our Parks has hosted free fitness sessions in the park each week, with everything from Yoga to Afrobeats-inspired aerobics. Come rain or shine, the instructors or ‘parkers’ turn up to tone up every session. We talked to Born Barikor, CEO & Founder of Our Parks Ltd to find out more about how the initiative is such an exciting opportunity for the local community.

Source: Elephant Park

How long has the Our Parks initiative been running?

The initiative has been running for over 3 years now, and was founded on the thought that it would be great to get a community together via exercise, done in a social way. Instead, parks are part of the community. The classes are always free or very affordable and remove the barrier of big gyms and leisure centres where you don’t know what to expect. There can be a lot of issues around body image and confidence when going to the gym whereas your local park is an open space that you are familiar with. There is no pressure at all, and before attending a class people can walk past and see what happens in the sessions to get a feel for it before joining in. These are just real people having fun, and taking part in exercise! We have been hosting the sessions at Elephant Park since the park opened in the summer and they have been thriving ever since.

Source: Elephant Park

What has the feedback been like so far? Have locals been enjoying the classes?

Since the classes started there are people attending week in week out, rain or shine. When it comes to April or March time when it gets light again, the classes will grow in popularity and attendance even more. Afrobics is a really popular one, and also the bootcamps, because these classes are all about having fun and taking part with the family.

Source: Elephant Park

What do you think the initiative brings to the community?

The classes are a really good way to meet your neighbours, as you go to an exercise class to talk, socialise and relax as well as getting fit; you often don’t get this level of sociability and interaction at the gym. Coaches and ‘Parkers’ encourage the social cohesion, which is what makes the coaches different, and this type of exercise unique – the social aspect in itself empowers you to keep fit.

Are the classes at Elephant Park going to be running for the foreseeable future?

Of course, they will keep going through the winter and won’t stop through rain or shine. Our coaches love to turn up, have fun and share their experiences as a trainer.

Source: Elephant Park

Have you been to any classes, and if so, what’s your favourite one?

Afrobics is definitely my favourite because it is just great to see a group of people having fun, dancing and getting fit in an exciting way at their local park. There is no better way to show a sense of community than all dancing together, in their own outdoor, public, shared space.

There are a range of classes, some for all abilities. What if you are completely new to exercise, is there a class for that?

Definitely. The classes are all about taking things at your own pace, from low to high impact classes. At Our Parks you increase things gradually, at your own level. Everyone works for 30-40 seconds as the standard duration, but within this time, it is all at your own pace. As attendees get fitter, they can increase the intensity if they want to.

Source: Elephant Park

Are there currently any opportunities for locals to apply to become an Our Parks coach?

Yes, we are always looking for new coaches, and everyone can apply on the website.

Are there any new classes coming up that haven’t been launched yet?

We are sustaining the current winter programme, which is already happening at the moment for the foreseeable, but come the end of January there will be a shaping up of the timetable to get us all ready for the summer. We are all about getting ‘park body ready’ not ‘beach body ready’!

So why not check out what classes are happening in the park this week, and get booked in to get fit for free in your local park space! Visit the website here.