Outdoor fitness parks are an emerging trend parks departments are following closely. They provide a lot of benefits to users ages 13 and up and to the community at large. Because of these benefits, outdoor fitness parks are showing up all over the country, in cities large and small. What are the benefits of outdoor fitness parks? Here are 10 ways outdoor fitness parks make life better for the people in your community:
1. No membership fees. Since they're free to users they remove financial barriers to better health and wellness.
2. Build lasting habits. Studies show people who exercise outdoors are more likely to repeat the behavior and for longer periods than people who exercise indoors
3. Connects the community. Fitness parks provide a social outlet that builds community capital.
4. Beneficial for everyone. When designed correctly, fitness parks can be enjoyed by people of all abilities and fitness levels.
5. Natural "medicine." Provides exposure to fresh air, nature, and sunlight, which increases levels of vitamin D.
6. Financial Opportunities. Park and recreation departments can generate revenue through program agreements with certified personal trainers
7. Encourage Change. Often times, people begin using equipment in an outdoor fitness park because it is convenient or available while they in the park with their children or grandchildren. It becomes a catalyst to encourage non-exercising adults to be more active.
8. Part of a Whole Health Solution. Increase interest in related community services, such as nutrition education and health screenings.
9. Multi-Generational Activity. When located within sight lines of a playground, fitness parks promote active behavior in adult family members, increases the time spent at the playground, and helps support the importance of lifelong activity and healthy habits in children.
10. Bring in the Dollars. Well-designed parks created to meet the health and wellness goals of a community may qualify for increased grant funding related to obesity prevention/reduction.
If you want to learn more about designing an outdoor fitness park, and how it can help your community reach it's health and wellness goals, request a copy of the Outdoor Adult Fitness Park Guidebook. Its filled with research and information on how to design, install and program your fitness park to make sure it is a useful resource for everyone in your community.