The Olympics have come to St Albans

The new 2012 Adizone in Verulamium Park, St AlbansThe Olympic Games have come early to St Albans in the form of a new outdoor teen and family activity zone in the city’s Verulamium Park.

Yesterday, we went to the park and saw the new Adizone in action for the first time. I say Adizone because adidas put up £75k (half) of the funding for this £150k initiative.

Apparently, the idea has already piloted in the likes of London boroughs Waltham Forest, Newham and Tower Hamlets, so the chance to do in St Albans was deemed a no-brainer.

But is it any good? The idea behind it is that it provides a maintenance-free place to do exercises for the whole family.

Certainly, yesterday, it was overrun with kids and their slightly-bemused parents testing out the equipment.

Treadmill in Verulamium Park
Treadmill in Verulamium Park
For anyone who’s been to a gym, there are a number of recognisable pieces of gym equipment, to work muscles and improve cardio.

The unfortunate thing is that they’re all one-size-fits-all. Things like the lat pulldown machine don’t work particularly well, because the only resistance is your own body weight, created by the seat on which you sit.

In addition, the hand bike, seated bike and cross-trainer were all very stiff – something that will hopefully improve in time, although being exposed to the elements is likely to make this difficult.

What did seem to be good was the basketball-cum-football court. We saw a group of young kids having a kickabout when we left.

I think the real test of the this new exercise space will be what it looks like in two years’ time when the Olympics actually come round. It will need to be regularly maintained and checked, otherwise it could easily fall into disrepair. I have my doubts that this will happen.

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