Alice-Azania Jarvis: A free gym with no graffiti, gum or grime. Who could want more?

In The Red

The most exciting thing has happened. Just up the road – literally no more than 50 metres away from my flat – a free gym has opened. It's one of those ones that the Government has been providing in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics – the sort of thing I'd heard about, but never really thought would benefit me. Now, there it is, all shiny and new and free of charge – and I can't tell you how pleased I am.

For as long as I can remember I've been a gym-goer. It's boring, but true: I genuinely enjoy spending an hour on the treadmill, flicking through magazines, and nodding my head to my iPod. It makes exercise seem so much... well, less like exercise, I suppose.

Anyway, this time last year I stopped going, since I could no longer stomach (let alone afford) the £40 monthly fee I was having to fork out.

I joined a nearby(ish) leisure centre, briefly, but gave up on that too after a while. Since then, I've been making do with the odd jog along the river and my (very) limited range of exercise DVDs (actually, I've only done the latter about twice; there's something intolerably embarrassing about prancing around in your living room, even if no one is watching you, and especially if your living room is as tiny as mine, in which case thwacking your arms against the walls becomes a necessary part of the procedure). At any rate, it has all been most unsatisfactory.

So you can imagine my delight at getting the chance to rejoin a gym without having to pay membership fees. Admittedly, it isn't ideal: first of all, it's all outdoors which means that when it rains, it's not particularly appealing. Second, because it's free, it is immensely popular with teenage boys (though not, it would seem, because of its calorie-burning potential so much as its avoiding school-teachers and looking at girls potential).

Still, it's pretty impressive: there is a whole array of exercise equipment – everything I could need, really. It lacks a treadmill but when you're exercising outdoors, you might as well go for a run. And the most obvious obstacle – that the equipment would get vandalised, covered in chewing gum, graffiti and grime – doesn't seem to be a problem. In fact, the equipment is very much intact.

So, for the past fortnight, instead of lifting weights in a sweaty room surrounded by red-faced strangers, prancing around my living room, or hauling myself along the river on a run, I've been lifting weights in the picturesque surrounds of Victoria Park with no-one but my flatmate and a pair of ducks looking on. Who could ask for more?

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

    Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

    £25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

    Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project