Outdoor Fitness, an overview
Flexibility, strength, general fitness, and well-being: freely accessible outdoor sports equipment offers a series of advantages.
When out walking, it is quite common to see a pull-up bar in the middle of nowhere or a solitary elliptical machine. Why is it that people show no interest in them at a time when this equipment is so popular? The responsibility often lies with the local council. Several possibilities are available and to choose the right equipment, you must first define the target group, the aim of the exercise and a suitable location. Here is a brief overview.
Light exercise equipment
Designed to encourage light physical exercise when out walking, this type of equipment attracts the curious, the unfit and the elderly. Often placed apart from each other, this type of sports equipment can be found on a footpath or a pedestrian street and does not, therefore, attract the attention of fitness fans who want more intense exercise.
The star of the 1980s, the fitness trail is making a comeback. Usually located in parks and woodland, it aims to encourage people who are out walking to do fitness or balance exercises. It consists of a series of pull-up bars, zig-zag steppers and climbing walls, accompanied by a sign with instructions for use that advises on how frequently the exercises should be done and how long the break times should last depending on the user's weight. This equipment, which is often also aesthetically appealing, is used, above all, by families and people who go jogging. It is made of wood to blend into the countryside.
Primarily recreational, freely accessible multisport pitches are designed for young people, children and adolescents who want somewhere where they can play. They can be used for a wide range of sports -football, handball, basketball - without the need to reorganize the pitch each time it is used. Their location depends, above all, on the council's intentions: multisport pitches near schools are mostly for students whereas those near a stadium are part of a larger sports facility. In a residential area, these structures give new life to the community whereas if they are located on the edges of a building complex, they protect the neighboring areas from noise pollution.
Unlike standalone equipment, fitness areas usually consist of a series of modules (a maximum of 12). Aim: to improve muscles, flexibility, and well-being in just a few minutes. Accessible to those aged 14 and over, fitness areas are not, therefore, playgrounds, but sports facilities that may consist of pull-up bars, elliptical machines or complete fitness stations for exercising several muscles at the same time. Located near parks, gardens or other sports facilities, they are sometimes used by associations who hold outdoor training sessions there.
Street workouts or calisthenics
Here, users access another level of training. More intense, calisthenics is a combination of weight training and aerial acrobatics designed to increase an athlete's strength, power, and flexibility. Ropes, pull-up bars (essential), parallel bars, horizontal ladders, and other equipment can be used by fitness fans and weight training enthusiasts. Some associations also use them for shared training or competitions. There is only one problem the council faces -space. A calisthenics area takes up a surface area of approximately 50-70 m2. Near a park or school, in a business park or quiet residential area, street workouts are a good way to encourage people to exercise outdoors.
To adapt to this wide range of options, MONDO offers several design modules from basketball pitches to jogging tracks and street workout modules. The various modules are available here. However, the most important thing is the choice of a suitable flooring, one that is safe for athletes and long-lasting in all atmospheric conditions. For the surfaces of outdoor multisport modules, MONDO recommends Sportflex M or MondoRun.
These prefabricated floorings guarantee total comfort due to the honeycomb technology in the lower layer which optimizes shock absorption and provides uniform responsiveness and good vertical deformation. With uniform thickness over the entire surface area, MONDO prefabricated sports floors guarantee consistent behavior for athletes on any part they are playing on. What is more, MONDO is also committed to safeguarding the environment: the prefabricated surfaces are partly made of recycled, non-polluting materials and the beads do not get dispersed in the ground. Due to their low level of volatile organic compounds and lack of harmful substances such as amines and isocyanates, MONDO surfaces have attained Greenguard Gold certification. This is vital for an outdoor sports facility.
he manufacture, installation, maintenance, and renovation of outdoor fitness areas are subject to the same regulations as all sports equipment. Fitness trails are not subject to specific regulations whereas standard EN 16630, which covers the production of permanently installed fitness modules, applies both to light exercise equipment as well as a fitness area and street workout equipment. Multisport pitches, on the other hand, must comply with EN 15312 (freely accessible multi-sports equipment) which regards in particular mechanical strength, structural integrity and the stability of the sports facility.
Councils, therefore, have several options if they want to encourage their citizens to engage in physical exercise. What they need to consider is the target group, the intensity of exercise required and the right location without neglecting the need to comply with regulations.