Fun Fitness for All!

Active Lifestyle PromotionYEARBOOK

The community of Ditavan is embracing a new outlook on life! On May 15, 2023, FIDEC Armenia officially opened the first outdoor fitness and workout station in this village, hopefully one of many more in the Tavush province. This initiative, generously supported by Nadya Kaspar and the Ekserciyan family, and in partnership with Street Workout Armenia, has four other priority regions: Syunik, Gegharkunik, Shirak, and Vayots Dzor.

“The main goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle among young people and adults in Armenia, and thus improve their quality of life,” explained Narine Hayrapetyan, Executive Director of FIDEC Armenia. Hence, the program motto is "Your health is precious! Exercise regularly, eat healthy, be happy!" The public’s reaction during the inauguration showed they were starting the journey. “They were overjoyed by the landscape and equipment, we all were!,” stressed Hayrapetyan.

According to recent scientific articles, a growing body of research has investigated the use of outdoor training equipment and its benefits. These may not be limited to fitness, muscle strength, and weight loss, but also include psychological health and social connections with family, friends, and others in natural outdoor spaces. Such stations may also contribute to city scenery or landscape, and improve safety perceptions. Therefore, public open spaces for physical activity have the potential to engage and motivate the community to lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. However, only four out of ten countries have implemented national policies in this line, according to the World Health Organization’s “Global status report on physical activity 2022”. In particular, public outdoor spots to exercise are still scarce in Armenia, especially, in rural areas.

Priority locations in target provinces

Tavush: Ijevan, Dilijan, Berd, Ditavan, Khachardzan, and bordering villages.

Shirak: Gyumri, Artik, Akhuryan.

Gegharkunik: Gavar, Vardenis, and bordering villages.

Syunik: Kapan, Goris, Meghri, and bordering villages.

Vayots Dzor: Yeghegnadzor, Jermuk, and bordering villages.

To help increase availability of fitness stations, FIDEC Armenia’s strategy involves installing them at all major parks and recreational areas, as well as near cultural centers, youth centers, and community libraries. Besides organizing official opening events in partnership with government sports authorities and regional municipalities, educational activities have been planned to promote equipment use and to highlight the benefits of each type of exercise. They also plan to celebrate at least once a year community fitness days that engage local influencers and celebrities, as well as professional and aspiring trainers from the Diaspora to promote an active life and a healthy diet.

People of all ages participated in the event and were willing to try the brand-new equipment.

“We are confident about stimulating children, young people, and adults to exercise, improve their health and wellbeing, and help prevent noncommunicable diseases, especially those prevalent in Armenia and potentially lethal,” stressed Pablo Elmassian, Medical Director of FIDEC Armenia. A positive experience in neighboring Georgia builds up such expectations. The country began installing outdoor fitness stations nationwide more than 15 years ago. Stations are found in major parks, recreational areas, and backyards of residential buildings in Tbilisi, the capital, and nine regions. “The installed equipment proved to be durable and remains fully operational, with no maintenance needed. This will also be a key factor for our program outcomes in Armenia,” stated Hayrapetyan.