With many pleasure pursuits curtailed during the lockdown, Kyivans, like many of us, have had to be creative when it comes to exercise. But now as coronavirus restrictions, which were first introduced in March, are finally beginning to ease, the city's famous ‘Kachalka’ gym is welcoming back former regulars in droves.
Opened in 1966, the outdoor gym, located on Dolobetskyi island in the heart of the Ukraine capital, is as popular as it's ever been after police restored access to the island.
With lockdown restrictions eased, open-air workouts have resumed in earnest with local enthusiasts flocking back to use the outdoor space and equipment.
Andriy Demyanchenko, 55, who has trained here for 35 years, said he desperately missed the place during the lockdown:
“I’ve been training here since 1985, and for me this is the best place to train. I use all types of gym equipment present here.”
Chained to the ground to prevent theft, most of the gym's equipment was built using scrap metal from old tools and machine parts. The gym's users carefully maintain the equipment themselves and also make new pieces to add to the apparatus on offer.
After a workout, many gym-goers take a dip in the Dnieper river to cool off. While it is a popular haunt for fitness fanatics, the island has also welcomed the return of office workers, young groups and couples who flock to its shores to unwind after work.