I was out walking my dog the other day on the trails that follow the canal. It's one of my favorite parts about living in Oakley, that there are so many places for residents to get out of the house and enjoy nature. As I crossed over O'Hara Avenue and began to walk past where the new Recreation Center is, I noticed that something had been recently added. Curious, I wandered over to take a look. What I found was a strange assortment of shapes, rings hanging from ropes, and various blocks spread out all over the roughly forty-foot square structure.
The equipment had only recently been installed, and at that time, there was no signage yet attached to explain what it was. The ground was made out of some light blue squares, and looked kind of like what I had seen at parks where there are water features, yet, I couldn't see any nozzles anywhere for water to be sprayed from. And if it was a water feature, then what were the rings hanging in mid-air for?
I'll admit, I scratched my head for a few minutes, wondering if it was some type of art deco display, or something else. I continued on my walk and didn't think much of it for the next few days. Then, I saw a post on social media about a ribbon-cutting ceremony that the City of Oakley was going to do at their new Fitness Court. And there, in the middle of the article, was a picture of the strange structure I had seen. As soon as I realized what it was, I had to know more, so I began to do a little bit of research on it.
National Fitness Campaign
From what I discovered, the park was designed and developed by a group based in San Francisco called the National Fitness Campaign. The organization was founded in 1979, but it wasn't until 2012 that they began to design and install outdoor fitness courts, like the one we have now. Though I couldn't find on their website how many of the parks have been installed so far, it did say that their goal is to have one-thousand or more by 2022. If you go to their website, you can see pictures of other fitness courts from all over the country!
The concept of the fitness courts is for users to go through quick, targeted exercise routines, lasting between three and five minutes. Each participant does an exercise for forty-five seconds, and then has a fifteen second rest period, allowing them to move to the next apparatus in the circuit. There are seven stations that you progress through around the court, which focus on: Core, Squats, Push, Lunge, Pull, Agility, and Bend. Each station has a variety of exercises that can be performed, and each exercise can be tailored to the individual’s fitness level, going from Easy, to Medium, to Hard.
There's Even an App!
If you're like me, and you get kind of lost inside those big gyms with all the weights and machines and noise, then you will be happy to know that there is an app you can download on your phone. The app will literally walk you through the sequence of exercises, and has videos to show you how to perform each movement! When you start a workout program, you'll view a video of the exercises you're about to do, and then a recorded fitness coach guides you through the workout, with lots of motivating music in the background, and tons of encouragement along the way. And the best part about all of this, is that it is free! No high price gym membership, or having to pay for a personal trainer to lead you through your workout each week.
They also have a list of all of their fitness courts in operation, so if you find yourself traveling, you can search to locate the fitness court closest to you! And if you need a little more motivation to keep you going, there is a Challenge tab on the app which lets you submit a video of yourself completing the workout, and then compare your score against people all over the country. You can even challenge a friend to beat your score – even if they don't live anywhere near you. All they need is to find a fitness court close to them!
From what I understand, the City of Oakley Recreation Department is planning to have fitness classes using this equipment, but you don't have to wait for a class to give it a try. Just head on over and start working out! Maybe I'll see you there!
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