While not widely used in South Florida, outdoor exercise equipment is popular in California.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Fitness Zone unveiling
WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday
WHERE: West Perrine Park, 17120 SW 104th Ave.
BY THEO KARANTSALIS
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Miami-Dade County officials plan to unveil outdoor exercise equipment next Wednesday at a special dedication at West Perrine Park to encourage adults and seniors to get in shape.
To ensure proper use of the new equipment, Miami Dolphins players will join county officials and kids from the West Perrine Park summer camp program plan to give “live” demonstrations on how to use “cardio steppers” and “row stations.”
“When it comes to health and fitness, no community in this county should be disadvantaged,” said County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss. “It is empowering West Perrine and residents countywide to improve their health.”
The goal is to promote county-wide awareness of physical activity and “tackle obesity” – a leading preventable cause of death and disability in the United States.
“With one in four Floridians classified as obese and at risk for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression, the time is now to take action for prevention,” said Brenda McClymonds, an official with the Trust for Public Land, which partnered with the county’s Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department to create the fitness zones.
“Our cost in Miami is $70,000 for the 9 pieces of equipment you will see at West Perrine,” said McClymonds.
The San Francisco-based TPL completed 51 park design and development projects in 2011. IRS 990 records revealed that TPL raised $101 million last year in grants and contributions.
Although not widely used in South Florida, adult playgrounds are popular in West Coast, especially in the Los Angeles area, for their health and social benefits. Los Angeles already has 30 and plans to add 15 more, according to a recent New York Times article, because there are “lines of people waiting to use the equipment.”
“We’ve planned for user surveys to be conducted to assess before-and-after responses from park visitors using the existing and future fitness zones,” said Doris V. Howe, a county park official.
A total of 10 sets of equipment —which the county calls “Fitness Zones” — are planned to open in Miami-Dade County at a total cost of $760,295, to be paid by the TPL. They are nothing like the old-school fitness circuits from yesteryear.
According to a recent Rand study, people in “fitness zones” engaged in “substantially” more moderate to vigorous physical activity than those in other park activity areas. The greatest impact has been felt in densely populated areas and in smaller parks that had few other facilities and amenities.
Three zones with “advanced strength-training” have already opened at A.D. Barnes, Jefferson Reaves and South Dade parks. The West Perrine Park zone will be the fourth to open.
Other Miami parks that are scheduled to receive fitness zones include Gwen Cherry, Leisure Lakes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Oak Grove, Olinda and Tree Island.