A free, fresh-air fitness facility movement sweeping across the country opens in Westland July 14.
Designed to provide a seven-movement (core, squat, push, lunge, pull, agility and bend) workout, the Fitness Court outdoor gym was invented in 1979 by the San Francisco-based National Fitness Campaign to, according to its website, encourage healthy lifestyles.
The unique outdoor gyms are made possible by private funding — Priority Health paid for the Westland gym — but local governments and community leaders help promote the facilities, said National Fitness Campaign’s Trent Mathias.
Easy to use
Each Fitness Court is equipped with easy-to-follow instructions on the apparatus. An easy-to-find QR code on the equipment can be scanned for additional information.
“The nice thing about the Fitness Court is that our app has workouts designed for individuals or groups,” Mathias said.
Mathias said Fitness Courts can be found in city parks, subdivision pocket parks — and backyards.
“They can be built pretty much anywhere,” Matthias said. “All you need is a concrete slab available at the site and the required building permits.”
Matthias said the structures are designed to last for decades, even in harsh climates like Michigan.
“The original models back in the ’70s and ’80s were mostly wooden, and there are still a lot of those in existence,” he said. “These structures are built with materials to withstand pretty much anything.”
Same design for all Fitness Courts
Matthias said there is only one version of the Fitness Court so that users can easily adapt if they visit one away from home.
“The logic is along the lines of tennis and basketball courts; you don’t want the dimensions to change from gym to gym,” he said. “If there were a variety of versions, it may be like going from shooting on a 10-foot-high rim to a 12-foot-high rim. Plus, the app is standardized so people can structure their workouts easily.”
A typical Fitness Court costs approximately $150,000 and they can be detailed in whatever colors the financier requests.
Shane Husband, who works for an Erie, Pennsylvania-based third-party contractor, is a member of a team of workers assembling the Westland apparatus.
“It takes us about three to four days, start to finish, to assemble one,” Husband said.
Free and easy
“What’s cool about these is that they’re free for members of the community and it’s a national trend intended to make it easier for people to take better care of themselves.”
Husband said he and his team were in Binghamton, New York and Brunswick, Georgia, before stopping in Westland.
“From here, we’re headed to Louisville, Kentucky, to put one together,” he added.
The gym will be officially open by 5 p.m. Friday, July 14.
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