Outdoor fitness equipment is rapidly increasing in popularity and becoming more widespread. This trend is a response to the rising cost of gym memberships and the increasing incidence of obesity and diabetes. The goal of fitness sites is to encourage individuals to get active in order to improve their health. However, ensuring the safety of users is of key concern. To help ensure the safety of all users, it is crucial that fitness equipment meets the standards set forth in ASTM F3101: Standard Specification for Unsupervised Public Use Outdoor Fitness.
ASTM F3101: Standard Specification is a set of guidelines that outline the requirements for outdoor fitness equipment intended for use by adults 13 years and older in an unsupervised setting. It covers a broad range of topics, including the structural integrity and overall quality of fitness equipment and requirements for surfacing around the equipment to minimize the risk of injury.
Whether it is at a local community park or an office complex, outdoor exercise equipment is being added to all kinds of spaces where people congregate. These settings include parks, multifamily housing, universities, public schools and more. Exercising outdoors is less intimidating than a gym, which makes it more likely for non-regular exercisers to start exercising and stick with their workout routine.
With the growing number of people who are not exercising enough, it is important to create safe and accessible places for those individuals to stay healthy and active. In recent years, parks around the world have been adding outdoor fitness equipment (OFE) to their facilities with the aim of encouraging more physical activity. Previous studies have shown that OFE is an effective way to attract new visitors and encourage exercise among seniors.
Although there is a growing amount of research on the benefits of OFE for seniors, there is little known about senior user experiences with OFE. To help fill this knowledge gap, the present study seeks to explore senior OFE users’ opinions of the experience and their perceived health benefits achieved through the use of OFE in parks.
Interviews were conducted with 55 seniors using OFE in two parks. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and a descriptive statistics approach. Results from this study show that seniors were highly satisfied with their experience using OFE and felt that it encouraged them to engage in physical activity. In addition, OFE in parks increased the frequency of senior visits and time spent exercising, as well as improved their self-esteem.
When designing a fitness site, it is important to involve the community to gather input on their needs and to build a sense of ownership for the space. Involving the community also helps ensure that the site caters to the needs of its user base and addresses their safety concerns. With the help of this information, parks can make their fitness sites as safe and successful as possible. Interested in designing an ASTM F3101 compliant fitness site? Reach out to a Creative Play designer today!
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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