Five Outdoor Space Elements

outdoor space elements

According to outdoor recreation experts at PlayCore, when you design a fitness space that provides all five elements of a well-rounded workout, your outdoor fitness area contributes to better health and improved quality of life. Let’s take a look at the five outdoor space elements.

1. Aerobic Fitness

Aerobic exercise is foundational to most fitness training programs. Providing equipment that promotes aerobic activity to engage the heart, lungs and blood vessels improve the efficiency of each. The American Heart Association states aerobic/cardiovascular exercise can help lower blood pressure, regulate weight and blood sugar, reduce asthma symptoms, improve sleep quality, and strengthen the immune system.

2. Muscle Fitness

Another critical outdoor space element of a well-rounded fitness program is muscular fitness. This is also known as strength or resistance training, and it helps increase bone strength and maintain muscle mass during a weight-loss program. Look for outdoor fitness equipment that helps students and faculty maintain and increase muscle strength. Chin-up bars, chest press machines and other products that use resistance mechanisms or a user’s body weight will help increase metabolic rate, improve cognition, reduce body fat and lower cholesterol.

3. Core Fitness

The core group includes the muscles in your abdomen, lower back and pelvis. A strong core helps to protect your back, and connects your upper and lower body movements. There are outdoor fitness products students can use to improve their core strength. You can install them with other equipment in a dedicated fitness space, or you can add them along a walking path to encourage a fitness-first lifestyle. 

4. Balance

Balance exercises are essential in maintaining overall health and wellness. By training to develop balance, people can realize improvements in coordination, athletic skill and posture. Studies suggest improved balance may contribute to fewer injuries and improved stability as well. Consider outdoor fitness products or programs that focus on improving a person’s balance. Beams, slacklines, springboards and similar items are small investments that can make a big difference in student health.

5. Flexibility

Flexibility is an integral part of physical fitness. Stretching exercises increase flexibility and allow people to do activities that require a greater range of movement. Stretching also promotes better posture and can even help relieve stress. Outdoor yoga classes are excellent for improving flexibility. Some campus recreation departments schedule regular group yoga classes outdoors to free up indoor space. Outdoor classes also encourage social interaction on campus and create a sense of community.

Bringing It All Together

By combining outdoor fitness equipment, group classes and dedicated spaces for outdoor exercise, you can enhance and improve the health and wellness of your campus. Ensure your outdoor fitness strategy considers all five essential elements.

Jon Walker is a product manager for outdoor fitness products for GameTime who designs outdoor fitness equipment and fitness spaces for colleges and universities. Reach him at jon.walker@gametime.com.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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