Are Fitness Clubs Becoming Adult Playgrounds; Ninth Grade Revisited

Some fitness clubs are starting to sound a little like my
gym class in Junior High School; ropes and a gym floor rather than cardio
vascular machines.  It seems that health
clubs are moving away from exercise equipment to old school forms of
  Here is how Courtney Rubin
describes the trend in her New York Times article: “Fitness Playgrounds Grow as
Machines Go
:” In the last year and a half, major health-club chains have begun
making hefting sandbags and shaking 25-pound ropes the standard, ditching the
fancy weight machines that have dominated gym floors for more than 30 years.”

Astroturf is the new flooring of choice while machines
are replaced by things like the “Jungle Gym” found at Lifetime Fitness.  This is not, however, the Jungle Gym you
remember handing upside down from in the

schoolyard.  It is, as Rubin puts it, “…essentially
seven-rung ladders the width of a small room from which people can push, pull
and otherwise suspend themselves.”

They call it a playground but it doesn’t sound like fun
to me.  
Last year I wrote an article,
Adult Playgrounds,” which was about the development of outdoor play areas
specifically designed for adults.  Unlike
the gyms, these sound like fun; they even have adult size sliding boards.

Calling an exercise space a playground does not make it
.  As children we ran everywhere, did
somersaults and got worn out playing tag. 
We must have been burning one hell of a lot of calories.   So, I guess the big question is:  “Why can’t exercise really be more like

2 thoughts

  1. This is in fact so true. I think there’s nothing wrong for adults to have fun inside fitness clubs and at the same time enjoy the drive in achieving one’s goal. Sometimes adults need some variations, too. So as to give them inspiration and motivation just as kids do.

  2. It’s kind of weird to think that what’s fun for a kid would be fun for an adult. Exercise can be, and is, like play, if you like cycling, hiking, swimming, tennis, rock climbing, boxing, or any of the multitude of other exercise classes out there that have been moving away from machine-based workouts.
    These “playgrounds” for adults are a little on the creepy side. The playground in the Times article was kind of wrong.

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