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Make outdoor exercise part of your winter routine

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If you live near a Trust for Public Land Fitness Zone® area, you've got a great alternative to hitting the gym: you can get your workout in at a neighborhood park, instead. The free outdoor exercise equipment is a great way to mix some fresh air into your fitness routine—and connect with neighbors, too.

We stopped by a new Fitness Zone area at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Connecticut, to meet some of the locals putting their outdoor gym to good use.

A man and two dogs at an outdoor exercise areaPhoto credit: Regina Tamburro

Christopher Robinson

Chris works out at this Fitness Zone area about four mornings a week, alongside two of his adorable (and naturally well-insulated!) workout buddies. Chris walks his two dogs around the track and pauses several times to do strength training. “The Fitness Zone area makes it possible for us both to get our exercise,” he laughs, pausing to untangle his sheltie mix, who has managed during our conversation to wrap her leash several times around the base of the parallel bars. “I think this has been a game-changer for the community,” he says. “I see older folks in the morning, younger folks in the early evening … it’s totally Stamford.” Chris belongs to a gym near his office in Manhattan, but since the Fitness Zone area opened he primarily works out here.

A woman in workout garb at an outdoor exercise areaPhoto credit: Regina Tamburro

Sarah Bull

“Getting fit is hopefully the beginning of getting my life back,” says Sarah, who was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Sarah began using the Fitness Zone area after a doctor recommended she start getting some exercise. Six weeks later, Bull is seeing a difference—and feeling stronger. “I have chemo every Monday, which leaves me pretty wiped, but by Thursday I’m feeling well enough to come to the Fitness Zone area,” she says. “It is helping my recovery immensely.”

A man in workout garbPhoto credit: Regina Tamburro

Eric Yaverbaum

An author and television personality, Eric lives in White Plains, New York, but visits his friend in Stamford frequently. “Having this here is incredible. It very much takes me back to the outdoor gym I used right on the beach in Santa Monica. It gives so many folks easy, free access to fitness.”

A woman, man, and a baby in workout garb Photo credit: Regina Tamburro

The Sterretts

Staying healthy is a family affair for Cameron, Ellen, and little Owen. “We don’t belong to a gym,” says Ellen. “This is so much easier—we don’t have to choose which one of us ‘gets’ to go exercise.” Cameron adds, “We’re really more the outdoor workout types. We’re much happier exercising out in the fresh air.” British Columbia natives and recent Stamford transplants, Cameron and Ellen work out at the Fitness Zone area several times a week—often with 14-month-old Owen in tow.

Special thanks to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for helping make the Cove Island Fitness Zone area in Stamford, Connecticut, a reality. It’s one of more than 80 Fitness Zone exercise areas that The Trust for Public Land has created in public parks across the country.

(No Fitness Zone area near you? No problem. You can still make your neighborhood park a workout space. Try this park circuit workout from Olympic runner Roberto Mandje.)

Comments

Rod Kline
I would like to start a Fitness Zone in a town park a few blocks from my house and not sure how to proceed. Any help would be appreciated even if it is just a link to websites with information. It is called Southeast Family Park and is located at 808 E Birch St, Palmyra, PA 17078. Thank you!

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