Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments has been associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, depression, and increased energy.
The following implementation strategies are intended to facilitate a proactive and collaborative Outdoor Adult Fitness Park development process, to assist in defining the needs of the community, and to explore additional mechanisms for ensuring long-term success.
Commit to the Project Create a task force. Meet with organizational leaders to identify stakeholders, areas of responsibility, understand areas of concern that need to be addressed, and identify budget needs/goals.
Engage the Community Invite members of the community to a planning meeting to gauge their level of interest and understand how they would use the space to promote personal fitness. Often, the interest of a particular community can help identify the best location.
Assess Community Needs Create a Needs Assessment process and documentation. This document should incorporate input to be used as a framework for design. Be sure to identify preliminary potential locations and their advantages, including proximity to neighborhoods, and whether the space is more appropriate for a Fitness Station, Trail, Cluster, or Joint Use Fitness Zone. Consider parking adjacencies and conveniences like restrooms and water fountains to maximize comfort for users.
Create a Plan Using the Needs Assessment as a guide to plan the target site, layout, equipment, and budget needed to execute the vision that best ensure the concerns and needs of the community are included.
Write the Strategic Plan This document should incorporate what the Outdoor Adult Fitness Park will do and achieve, how it will accomplish growth, and often includes a framework for assessment. Strategic planning articulates the project’s mission, vision, values, goals, objectives, and strategies.
Create a Budget Work with suppliers of outdoor equipment to confirm the budget needed to complete the project. Be sure to share your Strategic Plan with them to ensure the space is designed to meet all of your identified goals. Discover what tools are offered by the supplier such as class plans, ask how usage instructions are presented, and what other helpful information they can provide to ensure that your Outdoor Adult Fitness Park is easy and intuitive for maximum participation.
Finalize Design Based on information gathered, decide what equipment will fit the need of the project within the budget and area defined in the Master Plan. Don’t forget to consider additional components like surfacing, shade, and site amenities.
Identify Funding Mechanisms You will need to consider funding for both implementation and maintenance. Consider developing private/public partnerships to strengthen sustainability for the project and augment funding. Create a funding plan with target milestones and implement the plan to gain funding support.
Implement and Maintain Execute your plan, ensuring all of the elements within the strategic plan are in place while your equipment is being manufactured. Develop a schedule to include regular inspections of equipment to ensure all is in working order. Maintain landscape and surfacing elements to ensure they support and complement the fitness environment.
Celebrate and Promote Be sure to kick off the new Outdoor Adult Fitness Park with a grand opening event that will publicize it to the community. This is a great opportunity to promote future use by distributing information on upcoming events and classes that will be held throughout the year.
Evaluate and Improve Consider ways to expand the Outdoor Adult Fitness Park by incorporating running trails, increasing family usage, and marketing to certified fitness trainers to hold classes. Consider cross-promotions with other locations in the community to encourage usage expansion. Expand the number of users and total body conditioning opportunities by adding more equipment or poured rubber surfacing to accommodate additional exercises.