As we age our health becomes our most valuable asset and exercise is a key component for staying healthy. In previous articles I have written about the many options that Costa Rica offers for those who want to stay physically fit like gyms. It seems that everyday there are more and more gyms being built around the country. Memberships can be reasonable or very pricey. A gym like World Gym is Escazú might be too expensive for retirees on a small budget. However, there is an affordable alternative.
A growing number of Costa Rica’s parks are now being outfitted with outdoor exercise equipment where people of all ages can work out. This new phenomenon is called “mini-gimnasios al aire libre” (roughly translated as “outdoor mini gyms”). The areas where the majority of the outdoor gyms are found are San José, Heredia and Alajuela. Each gym has between 10 and twelve machines specifically designed to work different areas of the body like the legs, arms and chest. Each machine has a sign with diagrams explaining how the equipment should be used to obtain the most benefits.
It is suggested that each session should include at least 15 minutes of warm up on the stationary bicycle before starting one’s routine. If the park doesn’t a bicycle, then a five or ten minute walk is recommended instead. These measures are to avoid injuries.
Before beginning any exercise program everyone, especially seniors, should consult a physician to minimize the chance of getting injured. It is also important to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids like water or Gator Aid, use the correct clothing for doing exercise including adequate footwear, and to always wipe of the exercise equipment before and after using it.
On my monthly relocation/retirement tours we pass by several parks with outdoor gyms. My clients are happy to see that there is an affordable option for staying fit here.