Escondido’s new free outdoor gym opened last weekend at Kit Carson Park, the second in a network of five fitness courts planned for the city.
The fitness courts are the result of a partnership between the City of Escondido and the National Fitness Campaign, a San Francisco-based company that designs and promotes fitness courts across the United States.
The opening of the city’s newest fitness field was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as a fitness competition between police and firefighters and a training course for members of the public. The fitness court is located near the park entrance at Mary Lane and Bear Valley Parkway.
“I hope people will go to the fitness court and start exercising,” said Nadia Mondragon, a city fitness specialist who will design workouts for different age groups and fitness levels. , and will also recruit volunteer “fitness ambassadors” to oversee workouts at the city’s fitness courts.
The first court opened in Mountain View Park in November and construction of the third court is expected to begin soon next to the Kalmia Street Public Library. A fourth court is planned for Washington Park, and city officials have yet to determine the location of the fifth fitness court, said Danielle Lopez, assistant director of community services for Escondido.
Each 1,000 square foot fitness court features seven training zones, which together provide a full body workout. Zones include core, squat, thrust, lunge, pull, agility, and flex.
The city covers most of the cost of the fitness courts through park development fees collected when building residential and commercial projects in the city, Lopez said. The cost of materials and equipment for each court, including a shade structure at each location, is approximately $150,000, and the city received a $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign for each site. The installation of the courts costs between $60,000 and $90,000 per site.
A mobile app lets users view videos of different workouts, as well as find times for exercise classes and sign up for classes, Mondragon said. Fitness enthusiasts can also track their workouts and compete against friends using the app.
Fitness courts are a great way to get healthy outdoor exercise for everyone, from families with kids to older adults, Lopez said.
“We just wanted to provide a free fitness opportunity, for families to get out and do it together. It’s another outdoor recreational activity that anyone can do,” Lopez said.
Fitness courts aren’t just a great way for Escondido residents to stay in shape. They are also blank canvases for those with artistic inclinations. The city held a contest to select two local artists to paint murals on the back walls of the fitness courts at Kit Carson Park and the library.
Mondragon said the goal is to offer up to three fitness classes per week at each location if there is enough public interest. Under current COVID health rules, up to 14 people can attend classes, but this number will increase to 21 participants once the rules are relaxed.
Residents can also use the courts on their own, following directions in the app or posted on the fitness courts, she said.
Mondragon said she would also set up a Facebook page to provide information about fitness courts and class times.
“The important thing is to give the public an accessible place at no cost to exercise,” Mondragon said.
As more fitness courts open, Mondragon said it will recruit more people to serve as volunteer fitness ambassadors, with a goal of four volunteers assigned to each location.
Volunteers must be able to participate at least 10 times per year, have some experience in the fitness industry, and pass a background check. Those interested in volunteering can inquire at [email protected]