What is an outdoor fitness park

Learn how outdoor fitness parks can be beneficial to individuals and communities.

February 29, 2016 - Author: Katie Hodgman, Intern,

As spring is drawing near, it is about time to start planning a warmer weather workout. While the familiarity of a warm jog may spring to mind, a developing trend in health might be cause for a change in your typical workout method.

Outdoor fitness parks are growing across the country. Outdoor fitness parks sometimes referred to as fitness zones, are a new way to make physical activity accessible to community members.

According to research from Health & Place, fitness zones are “easy-to-use outdoor gyms consisting of durable, weather-, and vandal-resistant exercise equipment for strength training and aerobic exercise.” Fitness parks are a free service to the local community and are able to be accessed 24/7. The fitness equipment may vary depending on the park. Some examples of equipment may include a ski machine, leg press, leg curl, and horizontal bars.

Outdoor fitness parks provide benefits for both individuals and the local community. A company that implements equipment of this type explains that outdoor fitness parks provide tools for aerobic exercise, strength building, balance, and core development. In addition to the physical activity, outdoor fitness parks also provide benefits to the community. Utilizing the outdoor fitness parks ultimately benefit the usage of the local parks system. Another way community members promote community is by taking the initiative to get active and setting examples for other members in the neighborhood to develop a healthy lifestyle. 

Locating the nearest outdoor fitness parks can be found by accessing the local park system websites and searching for “outdoor fitness parks”. For those individuals in the Grand Rapids area, two outdoor fitness parks are available. One is located at Roosevelt Park, 739 Van Raalte SW Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. The other, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, located at 900 Fuller Ave SE Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506. Some of the equipment found at these parks includes a balance beam, rope climb, and push-up bars.

Before lacing up those tennis shoes for another jog this spring, consider locating the nearest outdoor fitness park and give an outdoor workout a try. 

Tags: food & health, msu extension, physical activity

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