Gym-shy residents are being encouraged to use new outdoor exercise equipment installed outside their housing estate.

The boss of Merton Priory Homes (MPH), which manages the borough's social housing, said the free-to-use kit would allow provide an alternative to those too embarrassed to join a health club.

The new equipment – costing £40,000 – was installed outside the Richmond Court block of the Phipps Bridge estate in Phipps Bridge Road, Mitcham.

Pauline Ford, MPH’s managing director, said: “We’re all about enhancing life chances here at Merton and I am really excited about this project.

“Richmond Court outdoor gym will enable our residents to take some gentle exercise as part of their own fitness regime without the stigma some may feel if joining a health club or gym.

“The facilities are free and can help residents to become healthier through exercise.

“It is also an ideal opportunity to get out for some fresh air. We hope residents will enjoy it.”

Trying out the new equipment, former mayor of Merton, Councillor John Dehaney, said: "The outdoor gym should be seen as a great community resource which will give easy access to exercise and help to promote a healthier lifestyle for residents of all ages."

To encourage a healthy lifestyle in the Borough, Merton Priory Homes has organised a free ‘Get Fit, Get Active!’ exercise programme this summer which includes Zumba, Fitness Boot Camp, outdoor running and Streetdance.

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