New fitness park gets people moving
Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014 08:23 am
Diamond Valley citizens looking to stay in shape this winter may not need to invest in a gym membership to do so.
The High Country Wellness Coalition opened an outdoor fitness park in December featuring 10 workout machines that assist with building and strengthening various muscles in the body and residents are already making good use of it.
Turner Valley resident Gita Grahame said members of the Sheep River Ramblers used it during a walk from Turner Valley to Black Diamond on a cold -20 degree day and loved it.
“We started using those machines and I was so pleased,” she said. “You can use them in any temperature. If you are on a walk you stop by and do some exercises on every machine, you warm up and carry on. It’s a really valuable addition.”
Grahame has been back about half a dozen times since, either by herself or with family members.
The fitness park is located beside the Oilfields Regional Arena at the north end of the skate park.
The High Country Wellness Coalition is a group of citizens focused on building healthy communities in Diamond Valley by inspiring healthy, active lifestyles through community partnerships, initiatives and education. Existing programs include fitness classes and the monthly fresh produce program Incredible Edibles.
Coalition chairperson Christine Bates said the Legacy Fitness Park is a great addition to the community and a great way to help the group meet its mandate.
“I just think that the more opportunities we can give people to be active and healthy the more chance we are going to have of that happening,” she said. “Our goal is to get more people more active more often. This is one of the tools we can use to help achieve that goal.”
Bates said with outdoor fitness parks across Alberta, including nearby towns like High River and Longview, the coalition decided it was time to build one of its own.
Bates collected the $65,000 needed for the park last year through donations and grants. The contributors are listed on a sign at the park.
Now with the park in place, people of all ages use it, said Bates. She said two people can use each piece of equipment at a time.
“My kids have used it and they are five and eight,” she said. “The location is nice because it’s right behind the high school and the arena. The Boys and Girls Club and schools are all able to use it as part of their outdoor fitness programs.”
Each machine is supplied with a description of its use and which muscles benefit in a workout, making it simple for residents to use, Bates said.
“We know cost can be a barrier for some people for exercising, also mobility,” she said. “Some people can’t get into the gym in Black Diamond because there are stairs. If they don’t have any money or have issues with getting up and down stairs this is a place where anybody can go.”
The equipment was supplied by Fitness Outdoors in Olds and constructed to withstand the harsh elements common to Alberta, including extreme cold temperatures, Bates said.
Town of Black Diamond Parks and Recreation Manager Les Quinton has noticed people making use of the park.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “I’ve been out and got on a few pieces of the equipment to see what they are like. I like it.”
The Parks and Recreation department is responsible for maintaining the park. It is monitored using a surveillance camera already in place before its construction, said Quinton.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Legacy Fitness Park is tentatively scheduled for May 10 at 1 p.m.
For more information about the High Country Wellness Coalition or the Legacy Fitness Park go to http://highcountrywellnesscoalition.weebly.com.