FITNESS fans should head to Homestead Park in Clifton, which has launched its innovative outdoor gym.

In spite of the near-freezing conditions, a hardy group of staff from the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust donned their gym gear yesterday to test out the new equipment, which is open to the public from today.

The project was made possible after the trust received a grant from City of York Council, and is free to use during park opening hours.

It came about after an online survey to find out what park users would like to see there.

A second survey asked people what equipment they would like to see there.

The gym is situated on the edge of the children’s play area and has a range of equipment, including an oblique twist, a recumbent bike and lateral pull-down machines.

Each piece of equipment works so that resistance is approximate to one third of the user's body weight.

There are also signs with every machine that display a QR code - which, when scanned by the user's mobile phone, provide links to video tutorials on how to use the machines. These can be accessed using the park’s free wifi.

Joel Owen, of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, said: “This is a really welcome addition to our wonderful Homestead Park.

“Outdoor gyms are increasingly popular all over the world, offering an accessible, easy and social way for people to get out and be more active. We hope the community enjoy using it.”

Of the five companies invited to tender, the trust chose The Great Outdoor Gym Company - which also boasts green credentials that helped them win the contract.

For each piece of gym equipment bought, they plant a tree in an NHS forest, which seeks to improve health and well-being via access to green spaces on or near NHS land.

The project has had a massive response on Facebook.

Community engagement officer Stacey Parry said: “We’re planning more health and well-being initiatives at Homestead Park during the summer.

“This is an ongoing project - and it’s totally free!”

The new equipment is suitable for anyone over 1.3m in height, though children should be accompanied by an adult. The site is wheelchair and disability accessible.

For details about the gym and park opening hours, see