Create the Ideal Fitness Solution for Parents

Modern parents are busy, constantly juggling parenting, career and personal goals. It can be difficult to find time for exercise and fitness. Aware of this struggle, as well as the ongoing rise in obesity rates, many park directors are bringing fitness to parents and other patrons, enabling them to get a good workout for free while their kids play nearby.

Q: We offer fitness options at our local recreation center, but not every family can find the time, and not everyone has the budget for a membership. How can we increase opportunities for families to get active?

A: Bring fitness to them with an outdoor gym. Outdoor fitness equipment can be set up in a variety of configurations, allowing you to bring free fitness to your community. Predesigned packages make it simple to offer a full range of cardio, strength and flexibility training, or you can easily customize your own layout. Equipment is available that provides circuit training, body-weight and adjustable resistance, and more.

Look for equipment that is designed specifically to be used outdoors.

Q: We'd like to create an outdoor gym near a playground so parents can get an opportunity to work out while their kids are at play. What should we consider?

A: Look for outdoor fitness equipment with safety features that make it possible to install the equipment right next to playgrounds. This way, parents and kids can all get some much-needed physical activity at once.

Planners have been hesitant to locate gyms near playgrounds because of safety concerns. But new designs mean many of the hazards previously associated with outdoor fitness equipment have been virtually eliminated. For example, a bidirectional piston used to provide resistance involves no recoil hazard, returning to its resting position in a slow, controlled manner. In addition to adding a layer of safety, this adjustable piston also creates a deterrent to children. When a young child tries to use a unit with the resistance set too high for them to operate, they will quickly lose interest and return to the fun of the playground.

In addition, look for a more mature color scheme. For example, dark green and black will appeal less to kids than the bright colors of the adjacent play structure.

Q: What else should we consider as we design our outdoor gym and play area?

A: Remember that supervision is still important for kids on the playground. Provide signage to encourage parents to remember to keep an eye on children at play, and be sure to provide good sight lines from your fitness area to the playground.

Q: We see a wide range of visitors at our playground, including caregivers with disabilities. Can we also help them find a way to exercise?

A: Look for ADA-accessible fitness equipment that enables users to target a range of muscle groups, for users with limited mobility or who use wheelchairs.

Older adults, also, will benefit if you provide a range of activities that help them preserve or build agility, as well as increasing strength and flexibility.



Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Inc.