Best Practice Case Study
Warner Park – Chattanooga, TN
Adult Fitness Trail in a Community Destination Park
Warner Park boasts a community playground, a softball complex, tennis courts, a pool, a splash park, a fitness center, and a zoo. The City of Chattanooga felt it was the perfect destination to install 16 adult outdoor fitness stations to be placed along the 2/3 mile trail that winds its way through the frequently visited park. Each fitness station features two activities at four levels of difficulty, offering a total of 128 activities for a full body workout in a family friendly, no cost environment.
The system also offers warmup and cool down stations and instructional signage that provides simple, effective, health-related messaging and programming. The Grand Opening took place on October 29, 2012, during a celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony attended by representatives from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), Chattanooga Parks and Recreation, PlayCore, UTC students, former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, and community members.
Through a collaborative partnership between PlayCore and experts from UTC’s Health and Human Performance Department, the partnership provided outdoor fitness and wellness opportunities to the Chattanooga community that will promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity in the great outdoors.
“We were trying to set things up so basically anybody could do it, from a pure beginner to an athlete,” explained Dr. Burch Oglesby, Associate Professor of Exercise Physiology at UTC and project leader. The team of professionals provided guidance with the equipment assortment, exercise activities on the system’s signage, and used current research and information to create a downloadable guide to further supplement the user’s experience. Jennie Sumrell, Director of Programs and Partnerships at PlayCore commented, “The knowledge and involvement with the advisors from UTC was critical to ensuring that users of all abilities and fitness levels have a robust, effective experience while utilizing the equipment to meet their individual levels and needs. We are proud to have partnered with them on this initiative to promote healthy lifestyles in our community.”
University students and various community groups have enjoyed using the new fitness trail equipment. The site has been used for fitness classes held outdoors to police and fire academy trainings. Autumn Corbin, a UTC junior Exercise Science major shared, “I usually have to separate my cardio and strength training, which can be a hassle to fit both of them in with my schedule. Now, I can do both at the same time, all while being outside. I plan on incorporating this equipment into my fitness routine at least 2-3 times a week.”
“With exercise, the magic pill is keeping it simple. There is nothing simpler than free, accessible equipment outdoors.”
– Rick O’ Rear
Recreation Division Manager
City of Chattanooga
The destination park offers aquatic facilities, ball fields, a zoo, a playground, tennis courts, and a fitness center. The fitness trail strategically connects recreation opportunities throughout the park.
The Outdoor Adult Fitness Park is a popular destination on weekends due to its proximity to a playground and splash park, as well as the sports fields and zoo.
Karen Allen, a local resident, added, “We come here as a family – the kids go to the zoo or the water park, then we walk the fitness trail – my husband and I use the equipment while the kids play on the grass. It’s great fun for all of us and we leave feeling like we had a great family day!”