Guest Column - May 2012
Find a printable version here


Take It Outside
Bringing Indoor Fitness Outdoors

By Tom Casey

A Variety of Equipment Types

Cross-country skiers, chest and leg presses, stair-steppers, rowers and even accessible products—today's outdoor fitness equipment is similar to its indoor cousins. One notable advantage is the wide variety of multi-user models that allow two, three and even four users simultaneously on one machine, promoting the inherent social interaction benefit of the outdoor fitness category.

From a compliance standpoint, ASTM standards specific to outdoor fitness equipment were initiated in 2011, with published guidelines anticipated in 2013. Just as ASTM and subsequently IPEMA did for playground equipment, the new guidelines will offer purchasers a confidence level that uniform standards of functionality and safety have been addressed by any given supplier.

Moving Forward

With this new generation of outdoor fitness equipment only now starting to actively grow in parks and public and private entities, it's not a far leap to envision the category becoming a foundational wellness and fitness option.

More than simply offering the latest fad in recreation, the outdoor fitness equipment category delivers the unique social, health and wellness premise of making comprehensive fitness equipment available to all people, regardless of fitness level or economic standing, to use on their own time and in their own fashion, all outside in the fresh air, where they work, where they live and where they play.


Tom Casey is a strategic consultant to recreation industry equipment manufacturers and suppliers worldwide, and principal at the Tom Casey Group. For more information, visit