It may be a slog to some adults, but children in Leyland are loving using mini gym equipment designed to get them fit and active this summer.
Paul Maloney, the brains behind the Freestyle Urban Soccer initiative which takes mobile football sessions around South Ribble and Chorley, has come up with a new idea for youngsters.
GymKids consists of specially designed gym equipment for nursery and primary school children aged three to seven years old, and is being trailed around South Ribble this summer.
Paul, 43, who runs the scheme with his wife Jeanette and son Kyle, said: “This is something which I came across a few years ago and I thought it was a great idea, especially with the obesity issue in children nationally.
“We invested in this about 12 months ago but we wanted to establish the Freestyle Urban Soccer first and get that off the ground.
“That has been so popular and successful, so we’re taking the GymKids equipment round with us this summer when we set up the football pitches, and just want to encourage people to give it a go.
“It’s such a good way to get youngsters exercising in a fun environment, and the equipment is not motorised, so if children stop, the machine stops.
“It’s safe, it’s promoting healthy lifestyles, and it’s fun, so it ticks all the boxes.”
The family uses sport to attract teenagers to meet up regularly, and has teamed up with partners such as the police and councils to reach out to youths about issues such as drugs, sex and alcohol abuse.
This year, they are also offering other activities such as basketball, street golf, rounders, tennis, cricket and boxing.
The sessions are free to attend, and Paul will be using the bases as an opportunity to launch the GymKids scheme.
“We’re just doing it in South Ribble to start with,” he said. “It’s about early intervention and planting that seed that exercise is fun.
“We have mini treadmills, steppers, air walkers, bikes and rowers, so it really is the sort of stuff you see in a gym.
“This equipment won’t have been seen in this area before, so I hope people get excited about it when they see it.”
The initiative is funded by the Lancashire Children’s Trust, and Paul thinks it will help change people’s attitudes towards exercise.
“We all remember doing the long distance running at school,” he said. “That wasn’t much fun. But if there was something like this, more people may have carried on with sport as they got older.”
The GymKids equipment will be in Leyland from noon until 3pm at the Queensway play area on Mondays July 29 and August 5; on the field at Low Green Road on Wednesday, August 14, and Friday, August 16; and Moss Side Village Green on Slater Lane on Monday, September 2 and Wednesday, September 4.
It will also be elsewhere in South Ribble including the Penwortham Family Fun Day on August 6.
Visit www.freestyle-urban-soccer.co.uk for more details.