On September 8th, the City of Onalaska introduced their first outdoor, grown-up playground in partnership with the La Crosse County Health Department. Community Park in Onalaska will now be home to additional playground equipment specifically made for adults! Rather than slides or swings, the adult playground is essentially an outdoor gym. The adult equipment includes a pull-up & dip station, leg press, back extension, and elliptical cross-trainer. The playground is free of charge and will be open from dawn until dusk.
“Unfortunately, we live in a fast paced society where making it to the traditional gym may be a barrier to being active. These playgrounds will provide adults with another option,” said Dan Wick, Onalaska Park and Recreation Director. The City of Onalaska is currently developing a fitness routine using the playground equipment & adjacent jogging path and plans to have it available on their website this fall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends American adults, including seniors, get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities, such as jogging or running, every week. The CDC also recommends strength training two (or more) days each week. Being active for even just 10 minutes at a time counts toward your weekly total! Most of all, in Wisconsin we are not meeting the recommendations; 42% of adults reported participating in less than 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week according to the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Additionally in La Crosse, 19% of adults reported no physical activity in the past 30 days according to the 2013 County Health Rankings.
While the idea of adult playgrounds may be relatively new to Americans, outdoor adult fitness areas have been gaining popularity in recent years in China, Japan and some European countries. “Being active should be an easy choice, and why not make it fun, accessible and the social norm too,” states Tiffany Lein, Community Nutrition Coordinator for the La Crosse County Health Department. “Hopefully this playground will provide greater opportunity for activity while addressing some of the common barriers to exercise such as cost and accessibility!”
Some funding for this program was provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Transformation Wisconsin project. For more information contact Tiffany Lein 608-785-5657 or Dan Wick 608-781-9560.