Manuel de Arriba Ares is a retired physical education teacher from a small Spanish town called Valdespino de Somoza, who became famous for creating the first ecological gymnasium in Spain.
The gymnasium is made up of more than fifty weight machines and home-made machines. Most of them are made of wood, with black, a species of tree native to the region, and all kinds of waste: ropes, stones, bicycle wheels, gears, buckets and drums, boxes, tubes … even a refrigerator door as a panel.
Manuel’s eco-friendly gym is open to the public, anyone can use it freely. Each machine has a sign explaining the exercises, and of course “registration” is free, anyone who wants to go and use it, and if they feel like it, they can even donate.
According to Manuel himself:
I love nature and walking in the countryside. He walked through this area and found tree trunks. I started to transform them almost without realizing it, using an ax, a hammer and a saw, and doing simple things first, then more sophisticated things.
It’s for the people and here it will always stay even if I go, I don’t intend to gain any economic benefit from it, but if it helps people to visit the city more, the better.
Handmade gym, does not use electricity. The materials are natural or recycled. Located in Valdespino de Somoza (León)… The plaque reads:
“This“ Lumen ”ecological Gym is the modest grain of sand that I altruistically contribute to my city, Valdespino de Somoza. I did this work entirely by hand: nothing electrical or mechanical. My tools were the hammer, ax, drills, saw, and pickaxe, in addition to my humble knowledge as a physical education teacher. I worked for three years, going through landfills and asking for the collaboration of citizens to obtain the elements that I received later (…) This particular gym, born from nature, will come back to it. – Manuel de Arriba Ares ”.
Pictures: Isabel Blas.