As the weather warms, there’s a natural draw to be outside. The demand for outdoor exercise options continues to grow, and parks and recreation departments are following this trend closely in an effort to provide better health and wellness opportunities to people of all ages, abilities and socioeconomic status. Outdoor fitness parks remove barriers, giving everyone a chance to exercise and be happy.
In a study conducted by Time Magazine, one of the key reasons adults don’t get enough physical activity is a lack of resources or funds to join a gym. However, an outdoor fitness park removes socioeconomic barriers to give everyone an opportunity to better their health. Many U.S. Parks and Recreation Departments support community health and wellness by providing green spaces for adults and families to enjoy outdoor recreation; some provide amenities such as walking paths or outdoor exercise areas for individual or group fitness classes. As demand grows, fitness parks are popping up in cities of all sizes and are an excellent resource to help communities reach health and wellness goals.
Here are some of the of the numerous benefits of embracing the outdoors when it comes to fitness.
It’s good for your health.
Not only is it fun, but exercising outdoors can improve psychological and physiological health, promote disease prevention, improve adherence to regular exercise, decrease tension and depression, increase energy, and increase satisfaction levels.
Develops good habits.
The presence of an Adult Fitness Park is a catalyst to encourage non-exercising adults to be more active. Research shows that people who exercise outdoors are more likely to repeat the behavior, and for longer periods, than people who exercise indoors.
Sets a good example.
The healthy behavior of exercising is passed down to kids, too! When located within sight lines of a playground, an Adult Fitness Park promotes active behavior in adult family members, increases the time spent at the playground, and helps promote the importance of lifelong fitness in children.
Embraces nature’s natural benefits.
Provides exposure to fresh air, nature, and sunlight, which increases levels of vitamin D.
Parents can enjoy a full body workout while their children are playing on the playground. GameTime designs the outdoor fitness area with clear sight lines to the playground equipment so parents and children can easily see one another. There are also plenty of opportunities to get families playing together, like Challenge Course. Challenge Course combines exciting obstacle course activities with precision timing systems to create a unique recreation experience for children, adults, and families. It is an outdoor fitness destination that opens the door to fun, physical activity for people of all generations and fitness levels.
Great for all levels of athletes.
Outdoor fitness is accessible to all fitness levels, from walkers up to elite athletes. GameTime has created endurance equipment that offers low-impact aerobic workouts, strength equipment that utilizes your own body weight for resistance, and cross-training options that provide a challenge to take your workout to the next level.
One of the groups leading the charge using outdoor fitness equipment, like Challenge Course, is Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) athletes. OCR is one of the fastest growing sports and outdoor fitness parks are a great fit to train for these types of events. Challenge Course Pro for ages 13+ is a great fit for parks, high schools and universities to encourage a fun, social and competitive fitness experience. Challenge Course Youth offers the same obstacles as the Pro series at a smaller scale. It takes school recess to the next level and creates an exciting play and fitness experience for children at your local park. There are also fun add-ons like a 40-yard dash, sound systems, photo booths and more.
Challenge Course also lets you take the competition nationwide with the Challenge Course app. You can time yourself and compete against other athletes in your area or around the country. If you’re considering an outdoor obstacle course, now is a great time. Challenge Course is on sale through August 17 at gametime.com/challenge.
Benefits your parks and recreation department.
An Adult Fitness Park can offer Parks and Recreation Departments opportunities for revenue generation through program agreements with certified personal trainers. There is also the potential to qualify for increased grant funding related to obesity prevention/reduction.
Good for the community.
Adding an Adult Fitness Park can help promote pride within the neighborhood where it is located. It may also spark interest in related community services such as nutrition education and health screenings.
Requires little space.
As community green space becomes more scarce, and the popularity of outdoor fitness areas has grown, there is a need for outdoor equipment to address these challenges. In some cases, fitness parks require more space than communities have available. In 2017, GameTime responded to this need with THRIVE. THRIVE is the culmination of thirty years of researching, designing, and creating outdoor fitness equipment. It encourages adults of all fitness levels to be more active outdoors, aligns with outdoor fitness research, incorporates programming for individual and/or group training, and combines all of these benefits into a system that can be installed in as little as 250-square feet. This makes it a great option for communities with limited space. THRIVE comes configured in 250 sq. ft., 450 sq. ft and 900 square feet and features elements like multiple step-up platforms, pull-up stations, ladders, variable monkey bars, a Swedish ladder and more depending on the size you choose. In addition to the system, THRIVE provides:
- Multigenerational fitness activities so everyone in the family can exercise together
- Adaptive training options for all ability levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced)
- Trainer-designed programs that focus on core, aerobic and muscle strength, as well as whole body flexibility
- High-quality, all-weather materials that withstand environmental elements and high volume usage
- Essential indoor gym product packages (resistance bands, med balls, etc) with every THRIVE purchase
Provides a high-quality workout.
Through thoughtful planning, design, and execution, fitness parks provide communities with resources needed to improve health and overall wellness, particularly when they address the four elements of a well-rounded fitness program: aerobic, muscle and core strength, and balance and flexibility. GameTime worked with Yancy Culp, elite OCR athlete and ACE-certified fitness trainer to develop fitness programs for use with THRIVE. The multi-user configuration and programming make THRIVE a great option for outdoor group training or boot camp-style fitness classes.
Outdoor fitness parks are an excellent way to bring communities together and have more fun outdoors. The demand for outdoor fitness is on a steady incline and equipment is being thoughtfully designed to provide an excellent workout outdoors. By adding an outdoor fitness park in your community, you can bring people together around a common goal of better health and wellness.
To learn more about the benefits of outdoor fitness parks and how they can help promote outdoor physical activity for families, go to