Best practices for the park of tomorrow
A park provides a community with a unifying space, a place where people of all ages come together for a variety of activities, fitness being one of the most important. If in the past, parks were primarily geared towards children, the park of tomorrow must provide for all members of society. Choosing the right kind of fitness equipment, therefore, is a vital decision for park planners if the entire community is to benefit.
A smarter approach
So, how do you get the greatest number of people into the best shape in a fun and engaging way? Here are some fundamental guidelines to implement.
- Provide a versatile platform. People come up with creative and surprising ways to use it.
- Provide equipment that favours functional training over muscle isolation (more on that below).
- Take pains to enhance the visual environment with intelligent urban design. For it to be attractive to adults, the equipment shouldn’t mimic playground equipment.
- The possibility for multiple exercises per piece of equipment is key.
- Equipment should be able to accommodate more than one user at a time.
- Equipment should be concentrated in one common area to facilitate group training and social interaction.
- The equipment should be adapted for different types of users, reflecting the various members of the community.
The benefits of functional training
Functional training is training that uses more than one muscle group during a specific exercise, as opposed to muscle isolation that targets just one muscle. The latest scientific data has concluded that for most people, functional training is more beneficial. This is because it not only engages stabilizer and core muscles but also results in a higher calorie burn, leading to greater weight loss. All cross sections of a society benefit from this: the elderly who need it to avoid falls, and youth to develop strength and skills. For a global body workout that will engage the entire community, the solution is clear: functional training is the best way forward.
The benefits of static equipment
Functional training is carried out on static equipment, which in itself has a great deal of benefits. For one, it provides versatility. One piece of static equipment can support a multitude of exercises, which allows for exercise creativity. This is vital if people are going to continue to exercise, as fun exercises are exercises that people stick with. The risk of injury using static equipment is virtually nil as it uses one’s own body weight. And it naturally accommodates all body shapes and sizes.
Moreover, if a park purchases equipment designed for muscle isolation, it is de facto limiting the number of exercises a community can perform with it. But with static equipment, the possibilities are almost endless. So while it makes more fitness sense, it also makes more dollar sense. One piece of static equipment can provide 10 times the amount of exercises a machine designed for muscle isolation can.
A wide variety of users
A public space that serves the community must provide equipment that can be used by all citizens regardless of age and fitness level. That’s why pieces like TREKFIT’s Climbing Wall, Carg o Net and Bamboo Jungle are so important. Not only do they enhance the surroundings in which they live, they can be used by anyone with virtually no risk of injury and at a variety of intensity levels.
In addition, they are attractive to a core demographic: teens. Young people are often at a loss for what to do when they’ve outgrown the playground. For younger teens, traditional fitness is still not of interest. They want to do activities that involve more play and challenge than a traditional workout. Equipment like Climbing Walls and Bamboo Jungles are attractive to this group and provide a great way for them to stay active. Inspired by trends like American Ninja Warrior, they can compete against one another in a dynamic, entertaining way. And all the while, they’re developing the fundamental motor skills such as speed, muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, following the sensitive phases of development for their age group, as shown bellow. This will allow them to reach their potential in any sport later on.Then, as they get closer to 16, they may start being more interested in Calisthenics or strenght training.
Group training is another important way in which parks can encourage participation and fitness. Studies have shown that people who work out in groups are more likely to stick with it. Equipment like that provided by TREKFIT is perfect for group training as it allows for multiple users on the same piece.