Fitness enthusiasts can do their gym workouts outdoors at the new “Fitness Zone” area at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40 St.
The state-of-the-art outdoor gym equipment is fully ADA accessible and provides a unique fitness experience that feels more like being on an adult-size playground than exercising, and is absolutely free to use.
The new park amenity is the result of the Miami-Dade Park Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s advancing “healthy living” initiative to create fun, accessible and affordable recreation opportunities for residents and the Parks Department’s ongoing collaboration with The Trust for Public Land Fitness Zone program.
The site features 21 pieces of easy-to-use, low-impact gym equipment designed for cardio and strength training and wheelchair workouts, such as a “Cross Country Ski,” chest and shoulder presses, leg presses and extensions, ab toners and a rower, among others. The equipment uses the body’s weight for resistance, so there are no weights to drop or lose. Each piece of equipment comes with an illustrated instructional sticker that explains in detail how to use it.
As part of the park improvements, seven new large shade trees were added around nearby park benches as well as new drainage to improve stormwater management, and new raingardens.
The Fitness Zone area includes a number of green infrastructure features that make it more environmentally sustainable. Those features include a garden, which collects rain water from the surrounding pavement and recycles it back into the ground rather than as runoff; trees that help provide shade and thus cool the air; drought-tolerant native plans, and parking lot features that funnel rain into the park and back into the ground, rather than running into the sewers.
“Park amenities like outdoor gyms are improving Miami-Dade livability,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.
“I am thankful to the Parks Department and generous community partners, the Trust for Public Land Fitness Zone program and TD Bank for making the new Fitness Zone area at Tropical Park a reality,” he added.
“Tropical Park is one of the most beautiful parks for active recreation and this new Fitness Zone area fits right in,” said Commissioner Javier Souto. “I look forward to seeing neighbors using the equipment often and making it part of their everyday exercise routine.”
The great benefit of a Fitness Zone area is that it can be used by people of any fitness level, according to Miami-Dade County Parks director Jack Kardys.
“The equipment is a fun and engaging way to get everyone moving and experiencing the life-changing outcome of exercising outdoors, from the teen who spends way too much time in front of the television or computer playing video games to the older adult looking for a workout that’s easy on the joints,” Kardys said.
The cost to build the new Fitness Zone area was approximately $234,000. Funds were provided by the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond program and The Trust for Public Land, thanks to their partnership with TD Bank to build six fitness zones across Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade Parks’ Design and Build Team completed the project, working with construction contractor DW Recreational Services.
Miami-Dade Parks has installed 23 “fee free” outdoor gyms at its parks since July 2012. In recent months, the Parks Department has installed Fitness Zone areas at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, International Gardens Park, Highland Oaks Park, Lake Stevens Park and Cherry Grove Park. Similar fitness courts are also planned for Amelia Earhart Park, Tree Island Park, Eden Lakes Park, Lago Mar Parkand Wild Lime Park.
The 283-acre Tropical Park attracts more than one million visitors annually. Visitors enjoy bicycling, walking or running on the miles of pathways, as well as boating on the park’s four lakes. Athletes can play tennis, racquetball, basketball, soccer or join one of the popular softball leagues. The Equestrian Complex is a world-scale venue for premier equestrian sports and entertainment events — hosting nearly 36 equestrian events each year, three state and local dog shows, as well as the annual Miami International Agriculture, Cattle and Horse Show. There is also a two-acre dog park with separate exercise and play areas for small and large dogs.
The park’s 6,000-seat Memorial Stadium is home to high school football games and the nationally recognized Miami-Dade Track and Field Team. It has hosted such prestigious nationally track and field events as the Junior Olympics and USA National Track and Field Championships. Located in front of the stadium is the Veterans Memorial.