A Move Outdoors for Fitness

Red Morton Community Center, Redwood City

With the arrival of the New Year, many of us resolve to increase our physical fitness and overall well being. We seek a variety of ways to achieve our well intentioned goals, but the traditional springboard for many remains the indoor gym.

I don’t know about you, but my days in the gym are gradually giving way to healthy outdoor pursuits, in my case, walking the beautiful coastal mountains of Sonoma County. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my gym workouts and appreciate the importance of weight resistance training for all of us, but especially for those of us who are approaching “senior citizen” status.

But there is something special and fun about exercising outdoors in a more unstructured, relaxed setting. And gymnasium memberships for many are too expensive or unavailable in their communities.

Lately I’ve noticed a growing trend in many communities to provide low cost, accessible outdoor fitness venues, even for urban residents. For example, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a non-profit that helps communities plan and fundraise for parks, has installed “fitness zones”, outdoor exercise areas, in many sites nationwide. In the Los Angeles area alone, a recent study found that 12 new fitness zones served a possible half a million people! In New York City, the parks department has introduced a number of adult playgrounds, essentially an outdoor gym where people can exercise and use equipment that targets specific muscle groups.

I was really intrigued by a new aerobic approach to outdoor exercise called “parkour” or “free running.” As envisioned by its founder, George Herbert, parkour is a holistic method of physical education that uses typical urban features and obstacles that challenge runners. For more on parkour and free running, visit HowStuffWorks.com.

These new fitness options provide all of us a reason to get moving and be more active in 2013.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

HeathBeat at Rosita Park, Los Altos

Please visit Landscape Structures’ website for more information about outdoor fitness equipment.

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