Honolulu's open-air alternative gyms

Photo: Chris Fleck

Remember when the ringing of the school bell for recess would evoke giddiness as you and your friends darted towards the playground? Now, you can re-create these feelings even as an adult, perhaps minus the frantic screaming and hair pulling.

Exercise stations are becoming a staple at most parks, offering a convenient and scenic place to have fun, while getting an efficient workout in at the same time.

There are a few choices in town, which offer all you need in terms of equipment, space and functionality. Exercise station areas include; Kapiolani Park (Makai side, next to the tennis courts), Ala Moana Beach Park (across from Magic Island) and for a slightly cooler venue, Manoa District Park (next to the basketball courts)

These stations are equipped with chin-up bars, a monkey bar, parallel bars, balance beams, a vertical climb, an abdominal station, leg lift area and a step-up station. Equipment of this sort utilizes body-weight resistance and gravity, which helps build muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, form and balance.

There is something for each target point of the body, including legs, arms, back, shoulder, core and stretching. There are also basic instruction boards posted for exercises too.

I’m not knocking the value of a gym membership, but, if you’re looking for an open-air alternative, the park is a pristine place for a hearty or light workout.

Visit the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation’s website for hours of operation, www1.honolulu.gov/parks


A professional writer for 10 years, Chris Fleck has covered a variety topics from history and sports to food and science. He currently is an adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University, teaching in both the communication and journalism departments. He is an avid runner and hiker and has embraced living in Hawaii since 2004.