St. Petersburg Gets Country’s First AARP Fitness Park | Athletic Business

St. Petersburg Gets Country’s First AARP Fitness Park

Seniors in St. Petersburg, Fla., can now get fit outdoors, as the city this week became home to the first AARP-sponsored fitness park in the United States.

The American Association of Retired Persons has plans to roll out 53 of the parks across the country. They’re designed for older adults in an effort to create more intergenerational living spaces.

"People are living longer, and we need to make sure they are living healthier, too," AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins told the Tampa Bay Times at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new park.

The park features six stations with exercise equipment suitable for a range of age and ability levels. It was installed by FitLot, a company that aims to turn empty spaces into fitness parks.

"Our real goal is to bring access to fitness," said Adam Mejerson, founder of FitLot. "It's more of a community-building tool. Fitness can be a way for people to spend time with each other."

The new park allows for both cardio and strength training, and users can add resistance bands to the equipment.

Kathy Black, a gerontologist at the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, told the Bay Times that parks provide a facet of wellbeing for the aging populations that is often overlooked. 

"The thing about parks is there was a study that older adults use parks less than others," Black said. "If the parks are only being designed for young people, we're not really building parks for people as they age. ... This is not Gold's Gym. We can use parks to keep older people active."

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