by Seán Lyons
University of Galway unveiled two grant-funded outdoor gyms costing €218,000 on campus on Friday.
The gyms are free to use and were funded as part of a government grant programme for 2022/23 to support Higher Education institutions.
The equipment forms part of University of Galway’s wider Sports For All initiative which aims to provide outdoor fitness facilities for students, staff, members of the public and visitors to campus.
Promoting physical health
Speaking at the unveiling of the gyms on Friday, University of Galway President, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, emphasised the university’s dedication to promoting physical health.
“In line with our value of openness, we want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to improve their physical health while making our campus a more open and inviting environment for everyone,” he said.
“We hope our university community and the wider community makes the most of the facilities as we develop plans to build on this across campus.”
An alternative to gym membership
University of Galway Students’ Union President Sai Gujulla said that the facilities will be of benefit to students who cannot afford a membership with Kingfisher; a gym which offers a subsidised rate of €250 per year to students of University of Galway.
“We see every year students having issues with Kingfisher where you have to pay over €240 for gym membership. In that sense, the outdoor gym satisfies that need,” he said.
Speaking on the likelihood of uptake of the facilities from students, Gujulla said “we’ve got some mixed responses from students; some people are really delighted by it whereas some people are kind of self-conscious about using them.”
Located at two opposite sides of the campus, the all-weather fitness equipment includes exercise bikes, leg presses, rowing machines and cross trainers as well as seating areas and water fountains.
A quarter of the equipment has been specially designed to accommodate the needs of people with physical disabilities.