Think park playgrounds are just for children? Think again! The playground is now a place where families can come together for recreation and fitness: today's modern parks are being built with adult and children's fitness in mind. It used to be that an adult would find it difficult to fit into all the playground equipment nooks and crannies, however new equipment being developed today makes it easy for children and adults to enjoy being together while working out.
In addition to giving care givers and children a shared experience outdoors, adult fitness parks are being developed to help stem the steadily rising problem of adult obesity. These new fitness parks encourage physical activity which is both affordable and enjoyable. Current research shows that this outdoor fitness equipment is providing adults a means to more vigorous physical activity. This equipment is free for use by the public and may be in areas near playgrounds or other recreation spaces.
The local community will also benefit from having outdoor exercise equipment available to the public, which include combating obesity for people of all fitness levels and creating a social outlet for the community. This encourages interest in health, nutrition and educational programs. Having these outdoor fitness areas located within sight of children's playground equipment, encourages families to work out together. Having this positive influence can start children down the road to lifelong fitness.
Overall benefits of exercising, multiply when using outdoor equipment. According to actionfitoutdoors.com, " Research shows that exercising outdoors has many benefits that may not be realized in an indoor environment. People with greater access to green environments exhibit better well-being and functioning scores in social, physical, and psychological domains.
In addition, there is research showing outdoor exercise:
- Can prevent certain diseases
- Improves adherence rates to exercise
- Provides greater feelings of revitalization and positive enjoyment
- Decreases tension, confusion, anger, and depression
- Increases energy
- Helps seniors reach higher levels of physical activity."
- Get Vitamin D
- Boost serotonin
- Improve overall mood and well-being
Gary Liguori, PhD. is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the head of the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dr. Liguori believes there are four elements of fitness critical for everyone in terms of overall wellness and to in chronic disease prevention: aerobic fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. When choosing the equipment for adult fitness parks, designers are able to pinpoint what area(s) of fitness each piece of equipment will target.
Much of the equipment offered by companies such as PlayCore, Inc. and ActionFit will target three to four of these elements of fitness. Equipment such as the elliptical, upright cycle, hand cycle, cardio walker plyometric box, vertical press, balance plank, chest press, and others provide multiple elements of fitness. Some equipment offers tailored enhancements like hand holds and back supports to provide addition support and stability for older users.
These outdoor gyms bring the latest in exercise methodology to provide the maximum workout for people of all fitness levels. Because your own body weight is used as resistance, the equipment is effective while tailored to each user. Both cardio and strength training needs can be met with this equipment. These fitness parks are designed to withstand the elements while being aesthetically pleasing to its environment.
There are infinite possibilities for the use of outdoor gyms in venues other than parks. Schools are one area where this equipment can inspire students and teachers to have fun while becoming more fit. Concentration and ability to focus and learn can be improved. What better way to introduce exercise and social interaction to children who spend an ever- increasing amount of time playing video games or using social media? The instruction guides which explain each piece of equipment's use can be used for instructional purposes as well.
County parks, housing developments, apartment complexes, and senior centers would benefit from outdoor gyms by increasing the strength and fitness of the community while providing a place for social interaction for families and neighbors. A fitness park can also add value to the area and provide a meeting area for groups. Partnering with qualified health care providers to offer community health screening can provide access to users who would otherwise not have baseline information about their individual health. This can promote healthy lifestyle changes or identify undiagnosed health issues which can be addressed.
Corporate campuses offer a unique and important setting for outdoor fitness gyms. Providing a place for improving fitness makes a statement that employees are valued which can lift morale while increasing the health, and productivity of employees.
Hotels and resorts which provide outdoor fitness areas can add to the repertoire of activities offered to their guests. These areas may attract visitors who may not normally use an indoor gym to become introduced to fitness equipment. This opportunity will be appreciated and remembered by your guests.
Fitness parks can also serve those with special needs by providing equipment that helps people managing an illness or physical challenge to become more fit and possibly improve mobility. Combined with rubber pour-n-place and access ramps, fitness areas can be easily converted into an inclusive play area allowing people of all fitness levels and abilities to benefit from the exercise. In fact, a facility can offer fitness classes to the community which can be revenue-generating. It is important that any trainer hired be a certified personal trainer. Adult fitness parks may also qualify for increased grant funding related to obesity prevention/reduction.
Bliss Products and Services has designed multiple fitness trails and workout areas for clients and municipalities. We are able to custom design any outdoor fitness area based on several options: age group, accessibility, area restrictions and existing landscape. Our inclusive products meet ADA guidelines for wheelchair access or special needs play. These products can be incorporated as needed to a fitness or play area.