Gym-goers get a walk on the wi-fi

The treadmills at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre use cutting-edge technology. Picture: Bill Henry
The treadmills at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre use cutting-edge technology. Picture: Bill Henry
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FITNESS fans will be able to surf the web or trek through a Colorado hiking trail from the comfort of the treadmill as part of a £1 million upgrade to Ainslie Park Leisure Centre.

The major revamp will transform the council-owned venue into one of the city’s premier fitness suites boasting state-of-the-art health apparatus as well as a new steamroom and sauna.

Now closed for six weeks, the centre’s changing rooms are to be enlarged and the reception area upgraded while a series of infrastructure works will see repairs to the boiler, windows, roof and filtration.

Around 38 cutting-edge cardiovascular machines – equipped with internet-enabled screens, televisions and radio – are being introduced as well as 20 new pieces of strength equipment.

Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the facility, said the facelift was part of a programme of improvements that will extend to Gracemount Leisure Centre next year and Drumbrae in 2015.

Graeme Gardiner, Edinburgh Leisure director of ­operations, said members of the gymnasium should expect “big changes”.

“The gym is very exciting as we have stripped it all out completely and put in a new floor and have a new layout,” he said. “We are introducing for one of the first times in Scotland new kit from our supplier which is state-of-the-art and has internet connectivity so you can check out your Facebook and Twitter on screen while doing your workout.

“Members can also download an app that will record your workout while the new screens will have live simulations which means you can run the natural trails of Colorado in America at your own pace while in the gym at Ainslie Park.

He added: “With these improvements it will be at the forefront of Edinburgh’s health and leisure centres. It is one of the few in Scotland that will have this type of kit. It’s a big step forward for the health and fitness industry in Edinburgh.

Personal trainer Jonathan Owen, who runs Lifewellness fitness coaching, said the new gym equipment was market-leading and would impress customers.

“These new simulation machines are designed to make workouts more manageable and less boring,” he said. “While the training is still strenuous, it’s also made more stimulating because the user is distracted by the visual challenges on screen.”

Ainslie Park Leisure Centre was closed last week with the gym expected to reopen on August 14 and the wet facilities – including swimming pool – on September 11.

Some of the gym equipment replaced by the new stock has been distributed to other Edinburgh Leisure sites including Craiglockhart, Drumbrae and the Jack Kane Centre.

Ainslie Park Leisure Centre was launched in 1989 in the grounds of the former Ainslie Park High School.