Finding opportunities for communities to come together and be active helps people become more fit while also getting to know their neighbors better. Outdoor fitness opportunities bring people outside of their homes and provide ways to connect with one another. If you are interested in how your own neighborhood or town could better integrate outdoor fitness opportunities with the community, consider the points below.
The Importance of Green Spaces
Creating more green spaces in city environments and ensuring that they are easily accessible is important for both children and adults. This doesn’t require vast tracks of wilderness or even large parks. Community gardens, trees and small park areas all provide valuable green space.
Outdoor Gym Equipment
Having fun outdoor gym equipment available can provide many of the same benefits for free that you would find in a regular indoor gym that you have to pay for. There’s nothing quite like being able to stop in the middle of a run through your neighborhood and do pull-ups or other exercises on this type of equipment. This equipment can be placed in many different areas, public or private, from schools and parks to outside office buildings and along public sidewalks, and like traditional gyms, it can provide a full workout for the whole body.
Some cities have embraced bike lanes, helping people commute safely and easily by bike wherever they need to go. However, bike lanes can be contentious. Some people worry that they will reduce the total road space available for cars or that cyclists will not follow traffic rules and will make driving more difficult. Well-placed bike lanes and good cyclist education can go a long way toward mitigating these types of concerns. Ideally, bike lanes could be integrated with trails, sidewalks, and bus stops so it is easy to move about the neighborhood on their own power or using public transportation.
Parks and Playgrounds
Outdoor gym equipment is great for teens and adults, but kids need some playground space. This takes them away from screens and gets them moving around, exercising and spending time with other kids. Some areas simply have too few parks. If this is the case where you live, you could look into the process for building a new park in your area and find out what channels you need to pursue in order to make it happen. Another great option for all ages is community gardens, which gets people outside, provides opportunities for gentle movement, facilitates communication with neighbors, and gives people the chance to grow delicious, healthy food.
Park Runs and Competitive Running
Park runs have become popular all over the world. These are community events where you can walk or run. They are usually 5Ks held on Saturdays although there can be events of other distances on other days. Some areas offer a junior park run on Sundays for kids. This is a fun way to get people who think they don’t like fitness to try some running. For more dedicated runners, 10ks and half-marathons provide challenge and motivation. These races can be walked as well, widening their appeal to include many more people.