It is after 7 p.m. and the winter sky has become dark. Meena S drives her two-wheeler to the Reserve Line Police. Her six-year-old daughter in tow both enters the newly opened outdoor fitness center.
Meena takes her place on the shoulder wheels while her daughter takes care of the equipment in which she recites and revises Tamil poems that she learned at school. The little girl is in the visible and audible range of her mother and it helps Meena to relax for the next hour and concentrate on her exercises.
“I've been a bit out of shape for some time now. This gym is a valuable gift, ”she says, adding,“ although I wanted to go for a walk in the morning, the daily rush hour made it impossible. We stay here in the police station, and now it's convenient for me to have some exercise on the way home. "
Barely a fortnight after the routine started, Meena says that she already feels the difference in her body and mood. On days when she ends her work early, she also brings her neighbors, who are wives of her colleagues in the department. While Meena signs up as a member for a small fee of £ 100 per month, those who come by have to pay £ 10 for an hour. And a few days ago, a few local tourists came in too.
Women speak and laugh with the 14 different devices that have been installed to relieve neck, back and shoulder pain, reduce belly fat, strengthen nerves, build muscle and relax the body. Amudha Valli, who is with the Special Police Battalion, is responsible for the gym. It observes each member in the eye of a falcon, checks posture, increases repetitions, determines rest periods and equipment usage.
In a short time, the 200 square meter rectangular room, which is fenced on the sides and covered with asbestos, has developed into a happy room for almost 100 regular members and many casual users. Chandra Jeyaseelan has been on the ground regularly for 10 years. "The gym was inaugurated before Pongal, and I saw the number of women grow every night and I was inspired to participate," she says. Chandra signed up for a month four days ago and says that's the best thing that ever happened to her. "I could never afford the high fee in private gyms and this perfectly meets my training needs."
Madurai Police Commissioner S. Davidson Devasirvatham came up with the idea of using the huge parade ground, which was a hub for thousands of walkers and joggers in the morning and evening, as an open-air gym, and now users can't thank him enough. "I discussed the idea based on a pending request from police officers," he says. In the Reserve Line area there is a 500 m² modern fitness studio with the latest hydraulic equipment, which is, however, reserved for men only.
“Women are busy with their jobs and their families and forget to think about themselves. I thought this was a great way to encourage them to take care of themselves because the location is suitable for both our employees and the members of the public who are already there, ”says Davidson.
After moving to Madurai 18 months ago, he occasionally went to Sundaram Park, which houses a Walker's Club run by the residents of the Lake Area and the Eco Park run by the Corporation. "I was impressed with the outdoor gyms installed in these two parks, and I worked with the company and the Collectorate to develop a self-care program. We finished the gym for £ 5."
"The maintenance fee is charged, but more importantly, to encourage and inspire users to get ahead," said Siva Kumar, who is overall responsible for both of the gyms set up by the police. The open fitness studio is only open for seniors (55 to 70 years) from 5.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. and in the evening only for women.
"We hope that more people will participate and that nobody will stop training regularly," says Amudha Valli. She says working women who come particularly late from work tell her that they are now feeling energized and relieved that they can bring their children with them to play around with. “There is a right attitude and positive energy here. Regardless of whether it rains or shines, I feel motivated to train as long or as little as I want, ”says Chandra.
Aside from burning calories while exercising outdoors, combining a variety of cardio, polymer and strength exercises with pushups, squats, rowing, biking, turning, and cross-training, this is satisfactory for members, Amudha says. “When people feel comfortable in a room, they participate more. Visit us after three months and you will surely notice the difference among all our members. "She smiles.