Encouraging regular physical activity is an important consideration for public health. This means thinking about new ways to make physical activity exercise more accessible, available, affordable, pleasurable, and ultimately well-used addition to more community and municipal parks. In this first part of a two-part blog series, we look at the advantages of incorporating outdoor fitness parks into your overall park design.
Research continues to show that outdoor fitness parks provide a wealth of benefits, encouraging more people and communities to get take their workouts outdoors.
Working out in fresh air, sunshine and natural surroundings is strong motivation to be more active, more often. One study through Leisure-Net Solutions shows that the majority of respondents would prefer to work out in the great outdoors, rather than indoors, meaning getting communities moving means helping them move more outside.
Among the many benefits it can provide, an Outdoor Fitness park can:
- Facilitate free access to fitness resources in communities, especially in underserved areas
- Encourage more activity, repeated
- Provide a social outlet for exercise
- Enjoyed by all ages and abilities
- Provide exposure to fresh air, nature, and sunlight, which increase important levels of Vitamin D
- Promote activity for the whole family, particularly when located within sight lines of a playground, increasing the time spent at the playground and helping promote the importance of lifelong fitness to children
Physical activity plays an important role in overall physical, mental and community wellness for people of all ages. Encouraging a more active community in your park design supports the growth of stronger community, in body and spirit. In one study from Health & Place, researchers noted that:
“Along with emerging evidence of benefits at the physiological, psychological, and social levels, it is also suggested that outdoor exercise is important for disease prevention. In addition, evidence shows that people who partake in outdoor exercise may improve adherence rates to regular exercise, thereby driving positive health behaviour change.”Hug-S.-M., et-al., Restorative qualitiies of indoor and outdoorexercise settings as a predictors of exercise frequency. Health & Place, 2009. 15(4): p.971-980.
Be sure to check out Part Two of our Outdoor Fitness Park Series, where we explore the two most important considerations in designing an outdoor fitness park that is useful and used.
Ready to plan a fitness park for your community? Contact us to get started.