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Health and fitness in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a vibrant city. Maybe it's the culture, or the climate, or the fact that it is a beach-front city. Sure is that part of the vibrancy comes from the inhabitants that seem obsessed with fitness.

Photo of Arjan Tupan
17 10

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The beaches (at least some of them) can be recognized with your eyes closed from the sound of the many people playing beach tennis. There are folks running everywhere, and many people use bicycles. But what struck me most are the many public fitness areas. Spaces with equipment to train your muscles. And they don't just sit there, but they're actually used.

Now, I don't know about you, but I like to exercise. I've taken to running, myself, and apart from making me feel good, it also keeps me occupied. Could these type of public fitness areas, running routes and bicycle lanes help in making cities more vibrant again?

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Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Love it. Wish I lived near one of these. And by the beach ;)

I wonder how this could translate to a city that wasn't beautiful and temperate, where people don't particularly like to be outside. For example winters in Detroit or summers in Texas.

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner

I lived near here ! The fitness atmosphere was infectious. Do you think it's possible to integrate such activity into the built or natural environment in more subtle ways, rather than having to buy equipment? This can sometimes be expensive. Could fitness equipment be merged with something else?

Photo of Arjan Tupan

It should be possible, but I'm no expert. The things James mentioned in an earlier comment are less expensive I believe.

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner

The Good Gym - www.thegoodgym.org sort of combines a few inspirations - getting people out onto the streets whilst supporting community projects, connecting people, linking generations. Quite creative !

Photo of Louise Wilson

great inspiration, Arjan. A 'mechanical' outdoor gym has been put into the park by my house which is great but I can never get on it - it's always busy! It always puts a smile on my face to see people using it!

Photo of Arjan Tupan

Thanks Louise! Funny that they're such a success close to your home.
On a bit different level I was actually thinking of the bike ride post on your blog, and how it connects so well with this challenge. Also, the Peckham is a community post sounded like it could fit here as well :)

Photo of Louise Wilson

You're always one step ahead, Arjan ;-) I had completely over looked the Peckham story (just posted it!) but have the bike ride video on my list to upload! Thanks

Photo of Arjan Tupan

I simply loved that post. Well written and compelling story in the midst of mayhem :). I'm having a look now.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Another place where I've experienced this notion in full effect is Chicago. The very long lakeside park & mixed use tracks seems to have triggered a lot of outdoor recreation and to me, reeked of urban vibrancy. I hadn't planned on cycling there but this inspired me to get out there every second day and get my blood pumping a little faster.

Photo of Arjan Tupan

In Paris, I lived close to Parc Monceau, where everyday people were jogging in the outer ring of the park (about 1K circle), and on Sundays it was really a sort of traffic jam of runners.
In Riga they've indicated a running round of slightly over 1K by painting a triple line on the paths. It can be very simple :). And seeing people run there, makes you want to get out more yourself as well.

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner

Yes ! I experienced this recently whilst on holiday in New York I found that the lure of Central Park encouraged me to get out there and go for a run, and allowed me to experience the city in a different way.
Interesting to know about Riga - I brought this up at work recently 'whether distance signage on footpaths would encourage people to go for walks/runs' so I'm so happy to see it's been done before.

Photo of Arjan Tupan

There's another park, almost a forest, on the outskirts of the city, where Nike has painted distances on the pavement indeed. They made 3 distance routes: 2.5, 5 and 10K. They also have a yearly run event there, and organise running classes together with a chain of sports stores. This could be an interesting setup/combination for others to follow.

Photo of Vincent Cheng

Hmm...this reminds me of the outdoor exercise equipment that is surprisingly common in neighborhoods & parks in China, even before the push to make more of them in a national fitness campaign leading up to the 2008 Olympics. These, unlike many public outdoor exercise facilities I've seen elsewhere, are actually quite inviting for / popular with the older generations. http://youtu.be/R6SSbIPZrxs

Photo of James McBennett

Nice,very good point: Another case could be made for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_Beach

On a much more junior level, I love when they put some form of shaped metal bar in a park for people to use as they run and train.

Photo of Arjan Tupan

Yes, the jogging routes! I remember Sunday walks when I was young, in the forrests of the Dutch coast, and even then these existed already. Sometimes with a sign explaining what to do.

Photo of James McBennett

ha! Who's got the horsepower now!!

Photo of James McBennett

a healthy body, a healthy mind!