Northern Ireland

Outdoor gym opens in Wallace Park in Lisburn

Edwin Poots, Councillor Thomas Beckett, Glenn Ferguson and Bryn Cunningham.
Image caption Edwin Poots, Lisburn Councillor Thomas Beckett, former footballer Glenn Ferguson and ex-Ulster player Bryn Cunningham try out the gym

It may not have quite the climate that California's Muscle Beach has, but Lisburn now has its very own outdoor gym.

The facility in the city's Wallace Park boasts eight full standard gym machines.

It is right beside the children's play area - so the whole family can exercise together.

The gym has opened to take advantage of the interest in sport engendered by the Olympics and Paralympics.

It is completely free for the public to use.

Health Minister Edwin Poots who officially opened the gym on Tuesday, said: "It is crucial that the population of Northern Ireland is informed about the benefits of participating in physical activity.

"This will help them maintain a healthy weight, but it will also help them improve their physical and mental health In general.

"This outdoor gym will allow people to access gym equipment in an alternative environment.

"Being situated in a public space means that it is freely available and convenient for everyone to use."

The Great Outdoor Gym Company Ireland Ltd (TGO Ireland) is behind then gym, in partnership with Lisburn City Council.

The company said it aimed to have at least one TGO gym in every city and town in Northern Ireland by 2020.

Among the first to use the gym on Tuesday was former Glenavon and Linfield legend Glenn Ferguson, the current manager of Ballymena Utd.

He said anything that encouraged fitness and exercise should be championed and supported at all levels.

"It's fantastic to see wonderful new facilities like this launching today, open for all ages, and all fitness abilities," he said.

"I have no doubt that this outdoor gym facility will be the first of many seen throughout the country."