In the first of our two-part Outdoor Fitness Park Series, we looked at the many benefits of incorporating outdoor fitness into park and playground designs. But in order to reap maximum benefits, a well-designed fitness park will need to contain a variety of elements thoughtfully placed, each offering specific results for overall health. In this second half of the series, we explore the top two things to consider in starting to plan out your outdoor fitness park: equipment selection and layout design.
Choosing Your Outdoor Fitness Equipment
Integrating equipment into your design that offers a variety of aerobic exercise, muscle/strength building, core development and balance challenges, you can ensure your outdoor adult fitness park provides a well-rounded routine that promotes health improvement and wellness with a natural flow and an encouraging design.
Fitness park equipment should address each of the 4 key elements of outdoor fitness:
- Aerobic fitness via cardio endurance activities
- Muscle fitness via strength, resistance, and endurance training
- Core fitness via abdomen, lower back, and pelvic exercises
- Balance and flexibility training to promote stability, coordination, range of motion and posture
Many of the outdoor fitness lines we work with carry comprehensive equipment designed to incorporate several of these elements together, whether working with a Challenge Course design or a designated bootcamp-style fitness park. Choosing equipment that is challenging, effective and efficient while it (most importantly!) still looks fun, will help ensure your park is well-used.
Planning Your Fitness Park Layout
While your total park design will always be dependent on the available space, creating a comprehensive fitness park will rely on an efficient, effective use of layout. There are several ways to plan for this, including these four common layout options:
- Composite Fitness Station
- Single piece of equipment
- Great for locations with limited space
- Compact series of exercises within a single structure
- Fitness Trail
- Along a pathway or trail
- Incorporates additional cardiovascular exercise
- Measured loop offers easy tracking for the user
- Focus: single or multiple exercises
- Fitness Cluster
- Arranged in circular or collaborative pattern
- Designed within a “use zone”
- Encourages communication among users
- Joint-Use Fitness Zone
- Designed in a semicircular pattern
- Provides sight lines to play area for parent/guardian supervision
- Active alternative to sitting with observing children at play
- Greater family participation in physical activity
As part of the overall design, it’s also important to consider
- Park Placement: Users may bring friends to the Adult Fitness Park, so configuring equipment to promote communication between them is an important consideration.
- Sight Lines: Especially if your outdoor fitness is placed within proximity to the playground, sight lines are crucial
- Signage: Clearly demonstrating park rules, equipment directions and any other important considerations or clearances intended for park participants
- Inclusivity: Communities can gain greater benefit when they thoughtfully engage a variety of user needs. This could include low-impact, barrier-free or customized equipment.
Incorporating more outdoor fitness can be as simple as integrating two or three Challenge Course elements, or as dedicated as creating a park specifically for fitness. Whatever your design goals may be it’s clear that, with health, wellness and fitness trends on the rise, the opportunity to encourage more movement, more often for more communities is here.
Ready to build? Contact us to get started today. And, right now is the perfect time to build and save because through August 15, 2019, GameTime (creators of THRIVE, GTFit and Challenge Course Competitive Fitness) have the lowest prices of the season on outdoor fitness equipment. Contact us to find the right fit for your park.