Free yoga. Free HIIT. Free bums, tums and free bootcamp classes. All across London!
With gym memberships soaring above the £50/pm mark, yoga classes charging £20 per pop, and even British Military Fitness (BMF) soaring above £40 per month, it's easy to let concerns about cost lead fitness goals astray. Those 'evening runs' you tell yourself you'll do instead start slipping, the route now boring and mundane, easily put aside by the temptation of an evening with friends.
It doesn't have to be that way. OurParks is an initiative launched in 2014 which brings free fitness classes to over 20 boroughs led by fully qualified, experienced and insured instructors. The classes are targeted for adults (16 ), however children 3-16 can still attend if they are accompanied by an adult. The program is steadily growing in popularity and continuing to grow both in number of classes and locations on offer. They run all year round; rain, hail or shine, so you can continue to work for that summer body throughout winter.
Free Yoga with Ourparks - Image from Ourparks facebook
Most locations have 1 or 2 types of classes per week ranging across weekdays & weekends. Some of the free classes on offer include:
Yoga BoxFit Back to Exercise (a low intensity gentle circuit for those returning to, or new to exercise Capoeria – martial arts inspired dance Circuit Abs, Bums & Thighs
To book in to a class (you must book as there are maximum class sizes) you need to visit the OurParks website to create a user account. Then after you have created your account – you can book in to your desired class. You can search classes by type or by location.
Over 90% of the classes are free, however there are some premium classes which require a membership to access. Memberships can be bought either as an auto-renewing 1 month membership (£4.99), or a standard yearly membership - £49.99. Several of the premium classes are the same as the free classes (e.g. box fit, yoga, bootcamp & circuit), likely with a premium fee because of their sheer popularity, but there are others as well including CV Tennis (bounce to the beat) and Skip Fit.
I recently attended a free HIIT class (High-Intensity Interval Training) session in Twickenham and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The instructor (incidentally, the founder of the OurParks initiative: Born Barikor) did a great job of engaging everyone, keeping energy high whilst also delivering a gruelling workout. You can take it at your own pace, but the awareness of having others around you also pushing themselves does motivate you to work just that little bit harder than you would otherwise.
Free Bootcamp with OurParks - image taken from OurParks facebook
There was a great variety of people there; men and women, from the late teens right through to the early 50's, the less fit through to the super-humans. But running through all of that was a shared camaraderie that unified the group, and it was electric. It's not only a great workout, but it was a great social buzz. If anyone has recently found themselves in a situation where they are looking to feel more a part of their community, or meet new people (perhaps you've moved to London recently, or are looking for new friends) consider going to a few of the OurParks classes as they definitely encourage a feeling of belonging and will build your social outlet whilst building that summer body.
London Boroughs that work with OurParks
• Waltham Forest
• Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
• Tower Hamlets
• East Village
• Hammersmith & Fulham
• Central Bedfordshire
• Barking & Dagenham
• Kingston upon-Thames
• Richmond upon-Thames
• City of Westminster
For more information on the program, classes and locations - click here