In a study conducted by Time Magazine, one of the key reasons students don’t get enough physical activity is a lack of resources or funds to join a gym. However, an outdoor fitness space removes barriers to give everyone an opportunity to improve their health. Many colleges and universities support campus health and wellness by providing green spaces for students to enjoy outdoor recreation. Some provide amenities such as walking paths or outdoor exercise areas for individual or group fitness classes.
Here are some 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 provide improved psychological and physiological health, disease prevention, improved adherence to regular exercise, decreased tension and depression, increased energy, and greater satisfaction levels.
Develops good habits.
The presence of a dedicated outdoor fitness area is a catalyst to encourage non-exercising students to be more active. Also, research shows people who exercise outdoors are more likely to repeat the behavior and for longer periods than people who exercise indoors.
Embraces nature’s natural benefits.
Provides exposure to fresh air, nature and sunlight, which increases levels of vitamin D.
Great for all levels of athletes.
Outdoor fitness is accessible to all fitness levels, from walkers up to elite athletes. Today, there is 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.
Benefits the campus recreation department.
An outdoor fitness area frees up space in your indoor training areas, maximizing your available square footage. There is also the potential to qualify for increased grant funding related to obesity prevention/reduction.
Good for the community.
Adding an outdoor fitness space 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 spaces require more space than communities have available. Look for outdoor fitness systems that combine multiple types of fitness exercises into a single compact unit.
As you can see, these areas are an excellent way to bring students together and have more fun outdoors. The demand for outdoor fitness is on a steady increase and equipment is being thoughtfully designed to provide an excellent workout outdoors. By adding an outdoor fitness space to your campus, you can bring students together around a common goal of better health and wellness.
By Shelley Robinson, an outdoor fitness park designer in Alberta, Canada with Park N Play Design. She can be reached at 780.242.6453 or at . Learn more at gametime.com/fitness.