An outdoor gym in Byblos’ public park

I’m Back in Lebanon. That totally deserves a post on its own but let’s talk about that later.

Today’s post is about something I’d never thought I’d write about in Lebanon. It is about public parks. One in particular. The newly established kids’ park and garden in Byblos.

You see, I was born and raised in a small coastal town next to Byblos. And as long as I remember, my parents would take us there, they would park the car somewhere near the fortress and we’d walk and play on the pier, climb on rocks on the sandy beach, and maybe go on a 30-minute boat ride.

When I grew older, it became a personal breathing space. I’d go walk along its narrow streets admiring its old houses and its colorful old souk.

I’ve grown to love this ancient city full of history.

So you can imagine my pride and happiness when three years ago I came home to see a vibrant public park. Although small by any standard, it provided a much needed green space for kids and adults alike.

All through my pregnancy (the second better half of it:)), it became the refuge for my daily 1-hour walk. And after my girl was born, it became our place for her stroller ride, and when she grew up a bit, it saw her first toboggan slide.

byblos public park - outdoor gymbyblos public park - outdoor gym

byblos public park - outdoor gym

byblos public park - outdoor gym

So when my mum told me today, that she came from a walk in that park and that she used its gym equipment, I had to go and see for myself what she was talking about.

I was so excited until I saw the big Snickers sign on each and every one of these machines. And then my heart sank.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love that Byblos residents can now enjoy this free outdoor gym. I love that Lebanese can now (maybe) appreciate green areas and get moving.

So for those reasons and more, I’m not going to be the one to spoil the party.

I’m not going to speak my mind about the food industry’s sponsorship and free gifts program.

I’m not going to mention the food industry’s way of blaming obesity on lack of exercise and not on the junk they sell.

I’m not going to say that these same foods they are selling and marketing are partly responsible for childhood obesity and diabetes.

I’m not going to say that what Mars corporation* paid for these equipment is nothing compared to the free advertisements they are getting when kids and their parents walk inside the park.

So as much as it pains me and for the sake of more physical activity, I’m going to look the other way from that Snickers sign.

And next time you’re in Byblos and you’re in the mood for an easy workout while your kids play around,  go benefit from these free equipment but you better not have a Snickers bar afterwards.

my baby walking in the park

*parent company of Snickers

6 thoughts on “An outdoor gym in Byblos’ public park

  1. i agree abt the snickers – but consider it part of their corporate social responsibility. I’d rather the gym without the brand, but if no one else is stepping up to do that – i’ll take the gym as it is :)

    • I know, but I was excited to go check it out, mum and many ladies have been using the equipment for the past 2 weeks and they’re loving it. I went during the afternoon, and teens, men and couples were also using them. So that’s great but imagine my disappointment when I saw the Snickers ads. I know food company politics, and that’s why I’m disappointed. And like I said in the post, I’m looking the other way because I’ve seen so many people benefiting from them.

  2. Hi Christele, I agree with you about the sponsorship, but in the end, it is a great initiative, better than to put the picture on a bench for example, so they will entice people to sit and eat that chocolate bar. Moreover, healthy people won’t care about the chocolate bar, even if you put a free dispenser next to the machine.

    The important is to have the machines well maintained, even though they are mechanical, and most important, not to have anyone damage them on purpose, so everyone can use them for long time.

    Also I think we should have parks like this in each village, Lebanon has one of the most beautiful weathers for outdoor activities, we don’t want people to get used to spend their time in Malls like the trend is increasing nowadays. At least in a park, one can think of being more healthy; whereas in a mall, after walking, you say: we are tired now, let’s go have a bite in the food court.

    • Hi Fady, I totally agree with you about the malls and that we need such parks everywhere in Lebanon. I practically take my kid there every day when I’m in Lebanon because of the lack of such spaces around. I love the initiative, my mum and her friends are enjoying the machines after a walk in Jbeil or in the park itself. So it’s awesome. I’m just a bit disappointed with the sponsorship because it’s not the people who are using them that I worry about. I worry about the kids and other people who walk in there and see 16 Snickers signs on 8 machines, and start thinking of that chocolate and probably end up buying it. If not immediately from the park’s kiosks, maybe later in the supermarket.

      I’m kind of an idealist, I know things don’t work as I always would like them to. So, I’ll take the free gym equipment and keep raising health awareness through my blog :)

      P.S: kids under 14 are not allowed on the equipment unsupervised.

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