How to Use Outdoor Fitness Equipment
Outdoor fitness equipment has become increasingly popular over the years. Fitness parks are popping up all over the place and are a great alternative to traditional gyms. Despite being present in many cities and towns, many people are unsure on how to use outdoor fitness equipment. The biggest reason for this is it typically doesn’t look like fitness equipment you see indoors. The reason it looks so different is due to the fact it needs to be built to withstand much harsher conditions than indoor equipment. Below we will go over some tips on how to use the equipment and some equipment you should avoid.
Take Time To Stretch and Become Familiar With Equipment
Just like if you were exercising indoors, stretching before a workout is a must. If you go to a outdoor fitness park that is new to you, take this “stretching” time to understand what equipment is available to use. Typically there will be some instruction signage, either on the equipment itself, or near the entrance to the fitness park. Read all instructional signage in full before doing any of the exercises.
Assess Equipment for Damage before Use
When you begin your workout, take time to make sure each piece of equipment you use is not damaged. Unlike with a commercial fitness centre, outdoor fitness equipment could sit for days or even weeks before someone notices it is damaged or has it repaired. Make sure equipment is sturdy and no parts are loose before starting each exercise.
Know your limits
Unlike with an indoor gym, or a commercial fitness center, there will typically be no supervision of the fitness equipment. With an outdoor fitness park you might also be the only one in the area. Understand your body's limits as you may not have someone around to help you in case of injury. If a piece of equipment feels uncomfortable, or awkward do not use the equipment. Unfortunately in the outdoor fitness equipment world, there are lots of “exercise stations” that have been designed with poor exercise biomechanics. These pieces of equipment can lead to injury as they move your body in ways it is not supposed to move.
Equipment to Avoid
As mentioned above, there is a lot of outdoor fitness equipment that has poor exercise biomechanics, and even more equipment that offers little to no true exercise value. Many of the outdoor cardio equipment pieces you will see offer almost no exercise value, and many can cause injury to user due to poor exercise biomechanics. With cardio equipment, it is extremely import to have the equipment adjusted for your body. Making adjustments is very difficult in the outdoor fitness space, and therefore most of the outdoor cardio equipment on the market is not great on the body. With cardio equipment like bikes, or ellipticals, you also need to add some resistance to burn calories. Almost all outdoor cardio equipment has no resistance, which means those exercise stations offer little to no exercise value. You should also avoid any non adjustable outdoor fitness equipment that targets your back. For example, the 45 degree back extension is a great exercise for lower back, IF done correctly. You will often see many outdoor gyms with a 45 Degree bench, but the bench is not adjustable. This can cause serious back pain or even back injury if you attempt this exercise with a bench that is not adjusted to your height.
Some Equipment to Avoid:
- Outdoor Exercise Bikes
- Outdoor Ellipticals
- Outdoor “Air” Walkers
- Outdoor Cross Country Ski’s
- Outdoor Pendulum
- 45 Degree Back Extension Benches that are non-adjustable
Rule of Thumb:
If equipment feels uncomfortable, and there is no adjustment, do not use. DO NOT try and make your body “fit” or work with the machine.
Click here to learn more about the outdoor fitness equipment Outdoor-Fit manufactures. Unlike our competitors, we build all our equipment with correct exercise biomechanics to ensure users' workouts are safe and effective.