Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

December 2016


Grant Brings Outdoor Fitness Area to Park

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

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Retractable Enclosures Help YMCAs Cut Costs, Boost Membership - November 2016

Huge Project Seeks to Rebuild Monarch Habitats - November 2016

Report: Camping More Popular Than Ever - November 2016

ACSM Predicts 2017 Fitness Trends - November 2016

CDC: More Than One-Quarter of 50-Plus U.S. Adults Don't Exercise - October 2016

Park District Recognized for Collaboration Efforts - October 2016

Americans Support Increased Local Funding for Parks & Rec - October 2016

High School Sports Participation Up for 27th Consecutive Year - October 2016

National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years of Successful Partnerships - October 2016

Study Shows High Obesity Rates Among Student Athletes - September 2016

Forest Service Celebrates 100-Year-Old Campground - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - August 2016

Council Announces Release of Second Edition of Model Aquatic Health Code - August 2016

Study Finds Seniors, Women Less Likely to Use Parks - August 2016

Level Up Your Park With Pokémon Go - August 2016

Research Shows Light Pollution's Impact on Night Sky - July 2016

Trail-Oriented Development Eases Congestion, Encourages Activity - July 2016

Nonprofits Aim to Boost Inclusive Fitness Opportunities - July 2016

Research Shows Benefits of Nature for Older Adults - June 2016

Destination Play Comes to Draper, Utah - June 2016

New Report Breaks Down the Data on City Parks - June 2016

Virtual Reality, Immersion & Interaction Lead Amusement Park Trends in 2016 - June 2016

National Leaders Team Up to Promote Physical Activity Plan - May 2016

Growing Economic Confidence Means More Visitors for Attractions Industry - May 2016

SHAPE America Recognizes Just Dance School of the Year - May 2016

Surgeon General Visits Gregory Gym in Austin - May 2016

Are States Dropping the Ball on Keeping Kids Active? - April 2016

U.S. Masters Swimming Campaigns to Reduce Adult Drowning - April 2016

Grants for Urban Outdoor Recreation Available - April 2016

Physical Education Program Grant Competition Opens - April 2016

Nature Play Comes to Wildwood - March 2016

Miracle Swimming Opens First Pool Dedicated to Those With Water Fears - March 2016

Managing Concussion Risk: Communities Switch From Contact to Flag Football - March 2016

Gallup Study Looks at Long-Term Well-Being of Former Student Athletes - March 2016

Purdue University Simplifies & Boosts Security - February 2016

Fitness Fosters Better Mental Health - February 2016

Restricting Diving May Have Little to Do With Preventing Injury, Study Says - February 2016

National Parks Work to Protect Bats and Their Habitats - February 2016

USTA Helps Communities Boost Tennis Participation - February 2016

Organizations Aim to Clarify Dangers of Hypoxic Blackout - January 2016

NRPA Receives Grant to Celebrate Those Advancing Health Equity - January 2016

Expanding Education on Concussion in Sports - January 2016

Omnibus Budget Boosts Funding for National Parks, Extends LWCF - January 2016

NRPA Study Shows Local Parks Have Significant Economic Impact in All 50 States - December 2015

By Dave Ramont

Exercising is great for mind and body, and spending time outside also provides many physical and mental benefits. And now, more and more places are offering the opportunity for people to move their workouts into the great outdoors. Park districts, schools, hospitals, resorts and military bases all over are opening outdoor fitness parks.

Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles, Ill., recently joined the trend—holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 25 to christen a new outdoor exercise facility. The park district had been awarded a funding grant from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, a leading provider of outdoor fitness products.

"We applied for the Greenfields grant last fall and were awarded 50 percent off the purchase of the equipment. The park district paid for the concrete pad and 50 percent of the equipment," said Laura Rudow, superintendent of parks and planning at the St. Charles Park District.

Rudow said that their goal was to help an underserved segment of the population—a goal shared by Greenfields—since the fitness park is free. "The park district already hosts several programs with our partner Fox Valley Special Recreation Association for both children and adults, and these workout stations will be ideal for people who are unlikely to have a gym membership."

The park features eight resistance-based exercise stations, which provide a full-body workout, focusing on strength training, balance and agility, cardio and flexibility. There are chin-up bars and incline benches, a chest press, a lat pull station and a cross-country ski machine. The leg press focuses on calves and quadriceps, while the vertical press works arms and shoulders.

Each station is designed for two or more people, offering more bang for the buck by accommodating more users in the allotted space, while making it fun for friends and family who work out together. Plus, there are two playgrounds nearby, so parents can work out while their kids get their exercise and fresh air as well.

The equipment is virtually maintenance-free and requires no lubrication. Many of the fitness stations are wheelchair accessible, a big plus for physically or developmentally disabled individuals who don't have access to such fitness equipment. And the fitness park is located next to a biking and walking trail, so users can incorporate a fitness circuit into their walk or bike ride.

Rudow said that as part of the grant application, they had to let Greenfields know how it would be used and provide pictures of where it would be installed. They also used their pedestrian traffic numbers and current program participant numbers in the narrative. Since the fitness park is so new, there hasn't been a lot of feedback yet, according to Rudow, but she said that "As the staff was installing it, we had a lot of people stop and express their enthusiasm over the new amenity, saying they couldn't wait to try it out!"