A diverse outdoor recreation system contributes to community capital by providing a high quality of life for residents. With increasing urbanization, communities are continuously seeking new ways to provide outdoor spaces and activities to residents, and outdoor exercise is one ideal option. Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks can be located by new and existing recreation centers, allowing users to exercise while enjoying natural and designed landscapes in an open air environment.
Well-defined and innovative Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks can serve a diverse range of users while also contributing to overall community health. The 2010 CDC State Indicator Report on Physical Activity shows 80% of US Census Blocks do not have workout options within a half mile, yet Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks can be placed almost anywhere; therefore, going a long way towards reducing this access barrier.
Leisure-Net Solutions' Outdoor Fitness Classes Report - Is It Better Outside?
Whatever category you fit in, there are proven benefits to exercising outside. Here are 9 unique benefits:
Make Exercise Fun
The addition of nature and fresh air helps make exercising fun and therefore more effective. Combining outdoor exercise, natural light and sensory stimulation has a “salutogenic” effect: reducing stress and encouraging healthy behaviors.
Equipment used in Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks requires no electricity, is low maintenance, and uses very little human resources. A majority of the materials used in their construction, including aluminum, steel, and sustainable plastics, are recyclable. The minimal impact on the natural environment is attractive to the developer, the funder, and the end user, and many participants may link positive environmental contribution with greater enjoyment of exercise.
People who use Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks often socialize while exercising, strengthening community and interpersonal relationships. These relationships may then support increased use as participants more readily interact with each other, offering encouragement, motivation, and support.
Are Available to Everyone
Though there are numerous indoor fitness options, they can be costly and inconvenient. Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks can remove these barriers, which is especially attractive in lower income neighborhoods. In fact, residents of high-poverty counties in the U.S. have obesity rates 145% greater than those in wealthy counties. By increasing the number of Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks available, especially in underserved communities, there is increased likelihood of creating positive change in overall fitness and health.
Regular physical activity is essential to health and longevity. Many people report preferring exercising outdoors, which may also have a greater effect on mental and physical well-being. Outdoor exercise is also rated as being more restorative compared to indoors since natural environments reduce emotional and physiological stress. Exercising outdoors provides all the physical benefits of indoor exercise (blood flow, improved cardiovascular health, improved strength, flexibility, endurance, etc.) and can also provide vital exposure to sunlight that increases important levels of vitamin D, unlike indoor exercise.
Attract New Users to Outdoor Environments
Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks provide additional opportunities for adults to recreate and participate in physical activity outdoors. People who exercise regularly may be attracted to these new outdoor locations, and create a true fitness “destination” within a neighborhood. This may also help attract more non-users to the new and popular destination.
Offer Revenue Opportunities
Trainers who wish to provide fitness classes in outdoor environments can rent the space, augmenting local budgets, while providing organized classes with an alternate environment, instead of the typical indoor gym setting.
Provide Training Opportunities
Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks are ideal locations for people with physically demanding jobs to augment their training. Firefighters, police teams, and college athletes, among others can benefit from the “real world” environment, and the ability to set up training exercises in adverse weather.
Support Community Capital
Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks promote growth in a healthy community. These parks attract health conscious people to a neighborhood and can often influence the behavior of non-exercisers, expanding the benefits associated with regular exercise to a greater number of people.
Resources cited in Outdoor Adult Fitness Parks™: Best Practices for Promoting Community Health by Increasing Physical Activity™