When I think of a British park, I think of a flat area with grass and benches to sit on, trees, flowers, a water feature such as a pond where children can feed the ducks, old people bowling, children on swings and roundabouts, and familes walking their dogs. etc. But my local park in Seoul is very different. First of all, it’s on a mountain. But this is not the only difference. Actually it’s a great place to exercise and has three common features of a neighbourhood park in Seoul.
So here’s my three step guide to exercising in the park – Korean style.
1. work out at the outdoor gym
Whether the snow is still on the ground or the sun is shining, the outdoor gym is a popular place to be. Walking uphill to the gym in the park will give you a good warm up, and then you can use hoola hoops to slim that waistline or work out on a variety of machines to strengthen those flabby arms and legs. Or you can simply hang from bars to help straighten your back.
2. Take a relaxing break at the outdoor library
After the gym, take a rest and relax with a book at the outdoor library in the park! And this has got to be the cutest library I have ever seen!
The library wasn’t here the last time we came. It’s called the ‘forest bookstore’ but the books should be read here at the benches and then placed back in the bookshelf. Ah! Although I think it’s still a little bit too chilly to be sitting around outside reading in January, I predict that in a couple of months this area will be a popular spot especially with the older generation.
3 Burn calories on the walking track
If you are ready for more, try the walking circuit. The first time I saw people walking around a circuit like this one, I wondered why on earth they preferred to walk around and around in circles – the track is not very long. It’s about 400 metres all the way around, so you have to go around lots of times to get very far. I also wondered why anyone would choose to walk here (with lots of other people) rather than walking in the mountain (where there are hardly any other people!) I guess they are just a lot more sociable than me – I spend my time trying to get away from others 😉
And I suppose it’s easier to walk around this track because it’s flat. And you can also work out how far you’ve walked in km and how many calories you’ve worked off – there’s a useful sign in the park to help you work out how many calories you’ve burned off. (FYI According to the sign, if you had bibimbap for lunch, you will need to walk for 1 hour and 8 minutes to work off those calories. )
So by following this three step plan anyone can get healthy in the local Korean park and best of all, it’s absolutely free!