Three Great Ideas for Creating Outdoor Fitness Areas
"How can I design an outdoor fitness park for my community?"
This is a frequent question we receive. Outdoor fitness equipment installations are part of a growing trend across the United States and Canada. People want to provide an effective and reliable way for adults and children to be more active outdoors, but they don't know where to begin.
This article will share three ideas for outdoor fitness park designs for every generation and ability. From playgrounds that help children stay active to "adult playgrounds" that promote fun and fitness among older teens and adults, you'll discover new and innovative design ideas.
1. Support Multigenerational Recreation
Multigenerational play and recreation is a key initiative for many communities. Creating spaces where people of all ages can be more active together is essential to creating stronger, healthier individuals and families. One of the most effective ways to bring together people from different generations is with an outdoor obstacle course.
GameTime pioneered the modern outdoor obstacle course movement with Challenge Course. Designed to promote playful competition among people of all ages, Challenge Course combines the excitement of a ninja-warrior course with the precision and skill of the NFL combine. Here are some of the ways you can create obstacle courses in your parks or on a playground.
Twice the Fun
Grassman Park is the first site in North America to install dual Challenge Courses in the same park
At Grassman Park in Jordan, Minnesota, there are the country's first dual obstacle courses. Designers from Minnesota-Wisconsin Playground, GameTime's exclusive representative in Minnesota, created an outdoor fitness playground experience unlike any other. By installing a Challenge Course Youth series (designed for ages 5 to 12) next to a Challenge Course Pro series (ages 13+), the community provides competitive fitness opportunities for everyone.
More Fun, Less Space
The Stadium combines 10 challenging obstacles in a super-compact design.
In Kernersville, NC, the community took a different approach to an obstacle course playground. The Stadium is a new concept for an obstacle course. It is a compact design that packs 10 obstacles into a structure that requires less than 1,200 square feet. There is an optional timing system, multiple routes of travel through the course, and integrated shade structures available.
KidCourse obstacle courses are fun, exciting, and affordable options for parks and schools.
For schools, there is a need to create fitness-inspired play areas that keep children moving. Schools often face challenges such as a lack of open space and constrained budgets. GameTime created a line of obstacle course designs that address both needs.
KidCourse obstacle courses combine ASTM-certified playground equipment with thoughtful design to create a fun, effective, and challenging play experience for children ages 5 to 12. It requires the same amount of space as a typical playground and affordable for schools that need to maximize their budget.
2. Design a Space for Every Age and Ability
Creating a fitness park that appeals to everyone can be a challenge, particularly if you have a population of people who need additional support when exercising. GameTime's GTFit outdoor fitness equipment includes products that are inclusive and ADA accessible. The range also has therapeutic products designed for older adults or users who need support when working out.
A Prescription for Better Health
GTFit outdoor fitness products are part of the therapeutic effort at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
A recent Centers for Disease Control study shows nearly 1/3 of American adults over the age of 50 don't engage in regular physical activity. The study found adults in this age group who didn't exercise or participate in physical movement outside of regular daily life experienced a reduced quality of life and were at greater risk of falls, injury, and chronic illness.
GameTime's GTFit products are the perfect option for creating a space for older adults and persons with disabilities to exercise in an appropriate and effective way. Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, installed GTfit products as part of their physical therapy program. The innovative fitness space was designed by Park N Play Design, GameTime's exclusive representative in Alberta, Canada.
The outdoor fitness products from GameTime are specially designed to provide additional support for older adults and people who need extra help when starting an exercise program - perfect for a hospital setting. When patients leave the hospital, they receive a complete fitness plan to engage in regular physical activity each day.
Active Adults, Active Kids
Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park in Los Angeles combines a rope climbing adventure for children surrounded by outdoor fitness equipment for adults.
Studies suggest children will adopt an active lifestyle if they see their parents or guardians engage in more physical activity. Supporting healthy families was one of the outdoor fitness area goals at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park in Los Angeles, California. Created by Great Western Recreation, GameTime's exclusive representative in Southern California, it's an outstanding example of a fitness park for everyone.
The center of the installation is a ropes course with climbing rocks for children ages 5 to 12. It's a great way for children to challenge themselves, exercise in a fun way, and stay within proximity to their parents while they exercise.
Around the ropes course are three fitness areas that promote all five areas of a well-rounded fitness routine. Personal trainers use the space for group fitness classes, employees of nearby offices use the space for lunchtime workouts, and the entire community is more active together.
3. Create a Fitness Trail
Community trails, walking paths, and greenways are excellent locations to install outdoor fitness equipment. A community outdoor fitness trail appeals to a broad range of users regarding age, ability, and fitness level. Cunningham Recreation, GameTime's exclusive representative in Tennessee, designed a fitness trail through David Carnes Park in Memphis, Tennessee.
One of six fitness stations installed along the walking paths at David Carnes Park in Memphis, Tennessee.
One of the most used features of David Carnes Park is the many walking paths throughout the nine-acre park. GameTime added fitness stations at regular intervals along the trail so adults can add strength, balance, and flexibility exercises to their walking or jogging workout. The park is a National Demonstration Site for Outdoor Adult Fitness because of its best-practice design approach to creating a fitness space for everyone.
The fitness experience at David Carnes Park also includes a compact, functional training system called THRIVE. THRIVE combines up to 20 fitness stations in as little as 250 square feet. Each station is adaptive to accommodate various fitness levels and abilities. GameTime also publishes workout programs for each THRIVE system for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users.
Back it Up With Research
Outdoor fitness equipment is a popular amenity for community parks, but designing an effective space requires expert advice and guidance. GameTime utilizes the research found in Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks®: Best Practices for Promoting Community Health by Increasing Physical Activity. This comprehensive design guide was created by PlayCore in partnership with leading experts in the fields of health and wellness, exercise science, and human physiology.
If you're ready to apply best-practice research to create an outdoor fitness park for your community, contact the GameTime outdoor fitness expert in your neighborhood. We'll help you determine the right design typology, select the appropriate equipment, and offer programming and training assistance to make it the perfect fit.