Case Study: Utilizing Partnerships to Create Multigenerational Fun and Fitness

Riverside Park in Indianapolis, IN, provides a unique opportunity for families to work out together. The park serves a large and vibrant community, and Colts Fitness Park at Riverside serves an estimated 30,000 individuals annually. The first outdoor fitness course of its kind, Colts Fitness Park opened to the public in September, 2016, when Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett joined Colts players, cheerleaders and mascot Blue for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The park includes a PLAY 60 Challenge Course, 40-yard dash and adult appropriate outdoor fitness equipment. With over 5,000 square feet of space, the park easily lends itself to multigenerational family fun. While the fitness equipment is designed for adults only, the challenge course and 40-yard dash can be enjoyed by everyone.

Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis Parks Foundation and Indy Parks helped make the project possible with funds coming from the 50/50 Gameday Raffle and the NFL Foundation. Officials say the new park is part of the Colts initiative to encourage residents of all ages to be active at least 60 minutes each day through the NFL's PLAY 60 Campaign.

One element of the space is a 40-yard dash that has a timer and scoreboard for each of the two running lanes, so family members young and old can compete, test their running ability, and receive excellent cardiovascular benefits along the way. Since the 40-yard dash is an important part of NFL training and the combine, it's a fun, but meaningful tie in to the football-funded space.

The challenge course, located next to the 40-yard dash is a fun, new way to get multigenerational exercise. Based on elements from the growing sport of obstacle course racing, as well as ninja warrior, and the NFL combine, the course is easily achievable for people of all fitness levels. Designed to promote balance, flexibility, grip strength, aerobic conditions and muscular/core development, the course provides a total body workout. Each obstacle is designed to be ability based, with several ways to transverse to that people can constantly challenge themselves and improve performance and condition as they use the course. Additionally, the course is designed to work with the Challenge Course app, available for both iOS and Android. Participants can time their performance, then upload their results to the app, giving them the opportunity to compete in a fun, friendly way with each other and with users of challenge courses all over the world. App users are awarded points for performance improvements, encouraging other users, number of times they use the course, and more, so people of any fitness level have the opportunity to see themselves on the leaderboard. Schoolroom classes using the app can time multiple students, making the platform a fun and intuitive way for teachers to measure performance and physical condition of their students. Adjacent to the course is a dedicated fitness area for adults. It features equipment like chest press machines, ellipticals, chin-up bars, and other strength and conditioning equipment, giving people the opportunity to get a gym quality workout in a free, outdoor arena. The area is designed to bring together people of all ages and fitness levels and to encourage them to be more active together.

Creating a multigenerational recreation space was important to the Indianapolis community, and to the Indianapolis Colts. In a statement published on the Colts website, Colts Vice Chair and Owner Kalen Jackson stated, "We are very excited to open the first fitness park of its kind in the Midwest. This project at Riverside Park provides a safe play space for children and families in the Riverside community."

Visitors to the space will see children running the 40-yard dash with their parents, teenagers from a local high school sports team training on the Challenge Course after school, and the entire families playing together. This is a space that draws together people of all generations, and from all walks of life.

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