Everyone knows Pottawatomie Park as the go-to place for mini-golf, swimming, boating, picnicking and biking. Now, thanks to a generous funding grant, the park is also home to new, and free, outdoor fitness equipment. On Tuesday, October 25, the St. Charles Park Board held an intimate ribbon cutting ceremony for this additional park asset.
There are, of course, many ways to get in shape and stay healthy, and working out with fitness equipment is a part of the wellness regimen for people of all ages. However, it’s one thing to do it in a gym; it’s another thing to be able to pump some iron in the great outdoors. Thanks to a generous grant from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, the park district has added a circuit of workout equipment stations in Pottawatomie Park that brings things like chin-up bars and incline benches, leg presses and elliptical machines out of the gym and into the fresh air.
“People in Pottawatomie Park or participating at the Community Center in other forms of exercise, like boot camp programs or a yoga class, could easily incorporate this fitness circuit into their workout program,” said Rudow.
Best of all, many of these fitness stations are wheelchair-accessible, making them especially useful for physically or developmentally disabled individuals who would otherwise not have access to such sophisticated fitness equipment.
“Our goal was to help an underserved population,” said Rudow. “The park district already hosts several programs with our partner Fox Valley Special Recreation Association for both children and adults, and these workout stations will be ideal for people who are unlikely to have a gym membership.”
Designed to be used by almost anyone, regardless of ability or fitness level, eight stations will provide a complete body workout. Equipment such as the vertical press works shoulders and arms while the leg press concentrates on quadriceps and calves. A cross-country ski machine, or elliptical, strengthens leg muscles, improves cardiovascular endurance and enhances agility and coordination. A lat pull station concentrates on upper back, biceps and core muscles, while the chest press addresses shoulders, abdominals, forearms and triceps. The equipment lets users work against their own body mass, and accompanying signage with handy QR codes instructs users on proper form and safety.
And every station is designed for two or more persons, making getting fit a fun time for friends and family. Mom and Dad can work out at the 2-person Back & Arms combo station, while best buddies can rotate through the 3-person Static Combo area, going from chin-up bar to incline bench to dip station. Grandma and Grandpa can compete against the grandkids at the 4-person Leg Press. Traditional walking partners can step off the trail and onto the 2-person Cross Country Ski machine for a nice change of pace.
“It’s so much easier to get motivated and commit to working out if you can do it with a friend,” said Rudow.
The “You Go Greenfields” grant award contributed approximately one-third of the cost of the outdoor fitness station complex. A leading provider of outdoor fitness products, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness works with park districts, schools, military bases and resorts to bring exercise equipment into the fresh air and sunshine.
The park district’s outdoor gym is situated adjacent to Gaffney Ball Field, making it a convenient drop-in location for walkers, bikers, or users of the Community Center or Swanson Pool. Parents could get in a great workout while waiting for their children at preschool programs. Distance walkers could diversify their fitness program by including a few minutes on the vertical and chest press machines to get a total body workout.
“We are very excited to be able to offer this outdoor gym to the community,” said Rudow. “It’s free, it’s outdoors, it’s always available. What could be better?”