News | 14 August 2023
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Wellington's calisthenics park still going strong

Since moving to Pōneke seven years ago, Jordan Berry has been able to make the city feel like home through finding a supportive calisthenics community and making the most of being active in Wellington’s green spaces.

A man and a woman hanging down from monkey bars in a calisthenics park.
Wellington Calisthenics group member Jordan (left).

As part of the Te Whai Oranga Open Space and Recreation strategy, Wellington City Council has been looking into how people use recreational space within the city and how they find their happy places in Pōneke.   

Jordan, who joined the Wellington calisthenics community five years ago, is in his happy place when he is doing calisthenics  a form of workout which focuses on using body weight, with little to no equipment. 

Since starting calisthenics, he has found that he is more connected to his body and feels like he can tap into his inner-child, he says.

“Calisthenics can be defined by any body weight movement, so in that scenario I have been doing it my whole life! What initially inspired me to start was just being curious about my body. 

“It’s something you always did as a kid right; kids do handstands and cartwheels all the time and at some point along the way we lose touch with our bodies and can no longer do the things we used to. The majority of us that are able bodied have those movements in us,  it’s just that through life we lose connection to be able to do them.” 

Jordan lives in the city centre and is able to walk and immerse himself in calisthenics by training at Wellingtons first ever calisthenics park on Pirie Street, an initiative that his group lobbied for. 

“Having the calisthenics park gives people the opportunity to move in a way that allows them to make progressions and regressions easily. Just having a bar for example is something that is quite hard to find naturally so it helps people to adapt.” 

“Gyms aren’t for everyone and they come with a barrier of entry which is money, opening hours and fear of being judged by other people. Calisthenics is something free and available 24/7."

Calisthenics park with a group of people using the equipment.
Wellington's first ever calisthenics park on Pirie Street.

After moving here seven years ago, Jordan appreciates the green spaces in Wellington and how he’s been able to make the most of his surroundings to train and keep fit.   

“The beauty of Wellington is that I can run 10 or 15 minutes in any direction, and I will probably be in the bush, there is not many other cities where that is possible. Being in nature means you have access to trails, and movement, you have trees for climbing and space - lots of cities don’t have half as much access to green space as Wellington does. 

"For anyone wanting to move more, start by walking around outside. It can be as simple as that. Set some time for yourself every day. Being outside is hugely underestimated in the benefits it has to our health.” 

His advice for anyone looking to get into calisthenics is to go to one of the Sunday meet ups and lean on community. 

“I would recommend going onto the Wellington Callisthenics Facebook page or reach out to someone to get started. Movement can be really daunting and intimidating for people, especially in the way that it has been commercialised, but it doesn’t have to be!” 

If you are interested in giving calisthenics a go, visit the Wellington Calisthenics Facebook group