CHW Weekly Stories

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW)

The Local Athlete Project

Yarin Arbiv always considered himself the ‘sporty’ type.  So, when it came to choosing his final design project for the The DAN Department of Creative Human Design at Hadassah Academic College (HAC), Arbiv looked to solve a problem that many fitness enthusiasts face.

“Fitness is something that is very important to me. But I often prefer exercising outdoors rather than in gyms. The problem is that if you’re looking for a particular workout facility, it’s not always available or accessible.” 

Little did he know, the problem he was tackling would become a central issue throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. As new lockdown measures and strict safety regulations took effect, most gyms and fitness classes were forced to shut down. Yet, the need for exercise and physical activity only grew as a parallel, mental health crisis began to unfold.

“I believe fitness, and sports in general, is something that strengthens us- both physically and mentally.” 

In the midst of Israel’s lockdown, Arbiv explored ways for making exercise and training more accessible, while still factoring in the new financial reality. The spike in unemployment and the massive layoffs meant that even fewer people would be able to afford gym memberships and fitness classes. 

Arbiv created innovative design solutions that combined familiar street facilities, like benches and bus stops, with fitness facilities that are easily accessible to everyone.

“I had an idea to make adjustments to facilities that already existed on every corner of the street. I gave them a modern, sporty look that would entice people to come and train.”

The result is The Local Athlete Project, a series of street furniture, including benches, poles and sidewalk barriers that have been functionally designed and modified to serve as a small fitness facility. The sleek designs allow people to easily move their workouts outdoors while still improving their cardio activity, building muscular strength and overall endurance. Best of all, the workouts can be done safely within social distancing guidelines, and all for free!   

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