BEIRUT: When in doubt over whether an outdoor public gym in Lebanon might be a good idea, keep in mind that countries across Europe and Asia, as well as the United States, have already caught on to the concept. “We initially wanted to open the gym at the beginning of the summer,” Houssam Chehabeddine, regional manager of Mars Levant, said when asked why an outdoor gym would open in the fall season amid reports of heavy rainfall this month.
“But Lebanon has beautiful weather all year round,” he told The Daily Star.
Snickers, part of Mars Lebanon, unveiled the first outdoor public gym in the coastal city of Jbeil over the weekend as part of its “Move it Lebanon” campaign, encouraging people to get fitter and stay more active. It is the first of its kind in Lebanon, and the first project of the campaign, to be followed by other such activity-oriented developments in gardens and parks across Lebanon.
The aim was to create an opportunity for all Lebanese to exercise and enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking scenery, while also skipping the hassle of gym membership.
The opening event was attended by Yasser Aboushy, representative of the Sports and Youth Ministry, and Ziad Hawat, mayor of Jbeil.
The sports machines were installed at the heart of the Jbeil Wagon Park and close to the sea, accessible to everyone and providing citizens with a much-needed motivation to work out more often.
Because an outdoor gym is also somewhat in the way, it serves as a reminder of the easy accessibility of the fitness equipment.
“We believe sports should be accessible to everyone,” Chehabeddine said.
Research also shows that working out in the outdoors and in groups instead of in a closed arena delivers a greater incentive to exercise, provides more support, and an overall favorable environment, a statement by Mars Lebanon said.
“The machines donated by Snickers provide everyone the ideal opportunity to stay in shape and socialize with their neighbors and fellow members of their community,” Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami said. “Families can also go with their friends and neighbors to enjoy a day of exercising outside in the garden or near the sea where the machines are strategically located.”
The mayor agreed, saying the municipality was always aiming to improve the quality of life in Jbeil.
This fitness initiative will serve as a positive contribution to pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
While Snickers paid for the installation of the machines, Chehabeddine said that the amount donated was not the important thing.
“One of our principles is mutuality,” he added.
“We want to give back to the community, and this is a good initiative that will help our brand,” Chehabeddine said.