LifeTrail exercise stations a hit in Coral Reef Park

A recent addition to the walking trail at Coral Reef Park already is proving a hit with Palmetto Bay residents. Gym-style exercise equipment designed to fit the outdoor environment has been added so park-goers can combine walking and workouts.

Kirk Hearin, Parks and Recreation manager for the village since June 1, 2009, having spent 13 years with the City of Homestead and 26 years with the City of Miami, is pleased with the new feature and the public’s response.

“We now have 17 exercise stations along the trails, and those are extremely popular,” Hearin said. “It’s an advantage for anyone in the neighborhood. We have so many people that come here everyday and do their workout and walk.

“They don’t have to go to the gym. They can come here and use the stepper and do all the different exercises on the equipment right on our walking trail.” Hearin pointed out that people concerned about exercising in the heat outdoors needn’t worry.

“The stations were installed in a linear fashion on the east side of the walking trail where we have a lot of trees,” Hearin said. “Lots of shade and cool breezes.”

Harold Williams is one of many residents who says he appreciates the availability of the workout equipment in the park setting. “This is great,” Williams said between repetitions on the upper body exerciser. “I come out about every day.”

The LifeTrail stations have equipment that includes Lower Body Warm-Up, Bench Stepper, Torso Stability, Upper Body Warm-Up, Standing Push-Up, Forearm Rolls, Upper Body Stretch and Strengthen, Lower Body Stretch, Balance and others.

The outdoor fitness equipment was designed and built by Playworld Systems, a manufacturer of outdoor fitness equipment, working with gerontology, kinesiology, and recreation experts from Pennsylvania State University.

Although originally conceived with Baby Boomers and beyond in mind, the outdoor fitness trail equipment seems to have appeal for younger users as well and offers the whole family a fun walking workout. It also offers more casual exercisers a chance to still fit while avoiding costly gym fees.

Brian Dreher is another village resident who frequently uses the park, often with his wife and son Ethan, and sometimes neighbor Shawn Davies, 11.

“We enjoy this a lot,” Dreher said at the Stepper exercise station. “My family and I always liked the park anyway.” For more information on the exercise equipment or the walking trail, call Coral Reef Park at 305-235-1593.

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