Children dressed up for the Halloween Spooktactular Oct. 27 play on the Fitness Zone equipment at Largo Central Park.
LARGO – The city of Largo opened the first of two outdoor workout stations, called a Fitness Zone, at Largo Central Park Oct. 23.
The 10-piece station that allows as many as 22 people to workout at a time already has become a popular attraction at the park.
“It’s getting a ton of use, and we’re happy to see it,” said parks superintendent Greg Brown.
Even at the city’s Halloween Spooktacular, children stopped to play on the equipment, letting family members hold their spot in the long line for the treat path that extended past the Fitness Zone.
“There were kids burning their candy off already,” Brown said.
Brown explained that he was inspired to bring a Fitness Zone to Largo after seeing a similar idea at a seminar. The city of Los Angeles had received a national grant from the Trust for Public Land to purchase the fitness equipment, and Brown was impressed with the findings of a study they presented on the effects of adding the a fitness zone to a city park.
“The study proved that it did improve the activity in the park. But then the people in the park got more active,” Brown said.
The city of Largo partnered with the Pinellas County Health Department to obtain a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, a program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The workout station was purchased and installed at no cost to the community, Brown said. County inmates were contracted to set up the equipment.
The city installed the Fitness Zone, not only under the shade, but near the edge of the park’s playground, so parents can workout while they watch their children, Brown said.
Most of the equipment is designed to utilize the user’s own body weight.
“All of it is very active, a cross between aerobic and strength equipment,” Brown said.
The equipment also is very social. Almost everything allows more than one person to workout and some of the pieces work in tandem with two or more users.
The city purchased nine pieces of equipment from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness. They include a two-person sit up incline, a four-person pendulum ab and dip station, a two-person air walker, a two-person cross country ski, a two-person vertical press, a two-person pull-down station, a two-person chest press, a four-person leg press and a single elliptical cross trainer.
City staff also added a pull-up bar, saved from the renovations at Highland Lake Park and painted it to match the other equipment.
Through the same grant, the city purchased equipment for a second Fitness Zone to be installed at the Highland Recreation Center, currently under renovation, likely in May.