Bhaktapur Municipality has installed open gym facilities and people are happy exercisingThe municipality has established 14 open gyms as part of its ‘Healthy Bhaktapur’ campaign.
Over the past three months, Krishna Ram Bati’s daily routine has changed. Every day at 4 pm, he closes his electronics shop in Itachhen for an hour and walks up to Kamalbinayak to avail the services of a free gym established by Bhaktapur Municipality. It’s a 10 minutes walk.
Bati, 52, had elevated blood pressure two months ago.
“But with regular exercise at this gym, two times a day, my blood pressure has become normal,” he told the Post.
Like Bati, Chandra Pradhananga, a diabetes patient, visits the free gym in Siddhapokhari. Working out has helped reduce his blood sugar level. “I use cycling machine and run on a manual treadmill. This has benefitted me a lot,” said the 72-year-old retired first-class officer of Bhaktapur Multiple Campus.
Bati and Pradhananga are among the hundreds of people—children and grown-ups—living in 10 different wards of Bhaktapur who have benefited from 14 open gyms opened by the municipal office.
The municipality started free gym service from five places last year.
“We decided to expand the facility to other areas after we got an overwhelming response from the people,” said Mayor Sunil Prajapati. “Now, we are planning to establish gyms in four more places.”
Bhaktapur Municipality has established itself as one of the model municipalities among 276 municipalities in the country when it comes to cleanliness, health, preservation of heritage and culture.
The city has been listed as one of the ten cleanest cities of Asia through its cleaning efforts.
“We started a free nursing service and health checks ups for each household in our first 100 days. We found that many people were suffering from non-communicable diseases such as blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, sugar, uric acid,” said Prajapati. “Doctors suggested that opening gym centres could be one way of reducing the burden of such diseases. And we started this campaign a year ago.”
The municipality has allocated Rs8 million to establish open gyms, including two in Khwopa Engineering College and Khwopa College run by the municipality.
Arjun Karmacharya, who is responsible for the upkeep of Siddhapokhari gym centre, said every morning over 150 people visit the facility to work out.
“In the morning, we see both males and females. But during the evening, there are more men,” said Karmacharya, who looks after Siddhapokhari and the free gym centre, that is established at the eastern entrance of the pond.
On Saturday, Mayor Prajapati inaugurated another open gym centre at Srijana Nagar.
Sakpa Sherpa, 46, who was busy exercising with other women at the newly opened facility, said she hopes to maintain her uric acid level by committing herself to a routine workout. “This is a good initiative by the municipality as not everyone can afford expensive gym centres.”