By Doyice Cotten
On December 14, Athleticbusiness.com ran an interesting story entitled Outdoor Gyms Gaining Popularity as Latest Weapon Against Obesity in which the author described a recent trend in the availability of fitness opportunities for adults.
The author discussed the trend of communities providing clusters of outdoor fitness equipment for the public. The author stated that such clusters are available in many locations, including New Orleans, St Petersburg, Los Angeles, Denver, Newark, Miami-Dade, and Minneapolis.
Some of the characteristics of the parks include: they are free to all, accessible to anyone walking by, include a number of stations that emphasize different muscle groups, and they are seen to help improve the health of the citizens.
While this is a new trend in the U.S., ironically, it has been around for some time in Europe and many Asian countries. Following are a number of photos of equipment found in one such park near the river cruise ship dock in Croatia.
Of course, as the movement grows, the always looming threat of liability lurks. Communities and organizations providing such equipment must be prepared with an on-going risk management program. It is vital that these groups must see that this equipment is included in their liability insurance coverage. Additionally, the community must provide for regular inspection of the equipment, proper maintenance of the equipment, and prompt repair of damaged equipment. Also, many, but not all, of these fitness areas seen in other countries have signage on which the use of the equipment is described or diagrammed. Signage disclaiming liability may also be helpful in some jurisdictions.