For many, leading an active lifestyle can be difficult, with the prohibitive cost of some fitness classes and gym memberships. But in Edmonton, those seeking daily exercise can find it right in their own backyard. And the best part is: it’s free.
Edmonton is home to seven outdoor fitness parks, which offer everything from strength cardio equipment to fitness tips and information on living a healthy lifestyle. (See map with locations below).
Some of the fitness parks offer one or two pieces of equipment, while others have several stations set up along nearby trails and park space. Another perk is that they come equipped with signs outlining suggested exercises.
“Most of them are great because they’re found in parks, so they’re centres of congregation and then what you can do is easily walk up to them or run up to them and do a quick five-minute circuit,” Blitz Conditioning owner Chris Tse said.
Adults should be getting about 150 minutes of physical activity per week, at a moderate to high intensity. Tse said these fitness parks are a great, easily accessible way to get out and get moving.
“The common misnomer in fitness is that when people first start off, they don’t have the opportunity unless you sign up for classes or you put money down on something,” Tse said. “I think the advantage is, where we are as a city, is that we can add into our parks different options and availability for people to get out there and get active.
“If you’re not really into big crowds or you just want to go out there and work out on your own, at your own time, then this is kind of one of those great options for people.”
These facilities can also offer a bit of variety for those looking to change up their fitness routines.
“In workouts that are just bodyweight-based, we hit a lot of press muscles,” Tse explained. “With these pieces of equipment, what we’re able to do is activate a lot of the pull muscles.
“What we see most times is that people don’t really cross-train all too much if you’re a runner or biker, so these are kind of great times where they’re just short periods of times – 10 to 15 minutes of exercise – and you can see a bit of a benefit from strength.”
While most of these types of equipment are designed with user safety in mind, Tse does stress the importance of doing the exercises properly to avoid injury.
“Really ensure you’re doing the exercises properly in the appropriate rhythm,” he said, adding equipment is generally designed to a specific height range.
“It’s really about having the awareness of, ‘Does it actually fit me properly when I’m doing this exercise or does it not?’ Because if it doesn’t, it’s probably not the best idea to be jumping on it on a regular basis.”
The City of Edmonton’s outdoor fitness park locations:
Here’s a closer look at Edmonton’s outdoor fitness park locations:
Gateway Fitness Park
Deep in Edmonton’s south, there are three fitness pods set up along the trails of Blackmud Ravine. The Gateway Fitness Park – just south of Ellerslie Road near 103A Street – offers strength equipment, as well as balance and stretching stations on poured recycled tire.
Located near the Grandview Heights Community League and Rink in the area of 124 Street and 63 Avenue, this fitness park offers a circuit with ellipticals and weight machines. This equipment is also set up on poured recycled tire.
Located in Sudor Greens Park just east of 213 Street, this fitness space offers several pieces of equipment. The grouped circuit is placed atop engineered wood fiber.
With stations set up along a nearby walking trail, this park offers static equipment for strength and balance. The stations are placed on concrete, in the area of 149 Street and 104 Avenue.
Norwell Outdoor Fitness Park
This fitness pod, located near Monsignor Walter Fitzgerald Park in the area of 71 Avenue and 180 Street, has a couple of static pieces of equipment. A range of exercises – varying from beginner to intermediate – can be performed on the equipment.
Beverly Heights Park
Stretching and strength stations are set up along a walking trail within Beverly Heights Park, in the area of 16 Street and 115 Avenue. After your workout, you can relax and play a game of chess at the nearby games tables.
Not only does this park offer exercise suggestions, information about healthy living and eating is also available. With stretching and strength stations set up along a walking trail, this park is set up on concrete in the area of 75 Street and 129 Avenue.