Imagine a (not-so imaginative) world where the goals of getting more people to workout and more people to spend time enjoying the outdoors could both be reached with one solution. Now imagine if this ONE solution also created healthier citizens in your community. Instead of trying to get more people to join your local health clubs, what if you brought outdoor fitness equipment to your parks or walking trails and let your citizens use them for free? This will help increase the opportunity for the public to use recreational and fitness facilities at no cost.
When actively taking part in the initiative to create a happier and healthier community and park system, it’s important to choose equipment that offers various exercises in order to give users a strong, balanced workout. Today’s outdoor fitness equipment offers people the same fitness benefits as indoor facilities – at their own pace, on their own schedule and with no membership fees. Since the majority of users are of the 90% who don’t belong to a gym, the equipment caters to those who typically don’t have the time or financial means. It is not meant to take the place of indoor equipment and training centers. It is, however, designed to focus on general flexibility, cardio and muscle strengthening. It is second nature to see colorful playgrounds, picnic tables and park benches in public spaces, outdoor fitness equipment merely provides another site amenity option.
The Science Behind It
In addition to the traditional health benefits, placing fitness equipment in the outdoors also offers nutritional and health benefits as well. Sunshine and fresh air can help with osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiencies. Mental health studies prove that simply being outdoors can also help lower tension and depression levels, with even more studies showing improvement in moods and general well being. Specific studies done on the benefits of exercising outside suggest that the change of scenery can help prolong workouts and alleviate the tedious activities involved.
Indoor and Outdoor Working Together
The question of “why” is asked by many when beginning to consider placing outdoor fitness equipment in their community. While, at first glance, indoor gyms and outdoor fitness areas might appear to disagree with each other, they can actually work together nicely if placed appropriately. It is important to note that the people using outdoor equipment are usually not the same people holding a membership to an indoor gym.
Despite many news stories and studies expressing the benefits of regular exercise, only about 10% of Americans actually use their local fitness centers. While reasons range from busy lifestyles to high membership fees, the biggest hurdle to overcome is appearance and intimidation. The thought of working out next to someone who is more physically fit can have a huge impact on whether an individual takes the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. Outdoor fitness courses are designed to provide levels of challenge for older children and adults. The events can be laid out along a pathway or configured to fit your area. Sign packages explaining the various events and suggestions for physical programs and warm-up/cool-down routines are generally included and there is typically a choice of color options.