AARP New Mexico and the city of Las Cruces announced back in June the completion of an AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Park in the city, as a long-term investment in the health of residents. While the park was officially opened for use, because of the COVID-19 pandemic a grand-opening was not done at the time.
Now city officials are rectifying that by having on official grand-opening of the park Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. The community is invited to attend and enjoy some fun and light refreshments. The park is located at 1045 McClure Road.
At the time, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said, “Health and wellbeing are central to our lives. AARP is proud to provide this vibrant, accessible AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Park to the local community in Las Cruces. Support for healthy aging has been a priority for AARP since our founding more than 60 years ago. AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Parks also help bring communities together in safe and healthy ways, which is particularly important as we navigate new phases of staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A growing number of studies link exercise not only to cardiovascular health and an increased life span, but also to lower rates of depression, dementia and other issues.
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said, “I appreciate and am grateful for all of the efforts and work from everyone that has gone into the completion of the Las Cruces AARP-sponsored Fitness Park. We place considerable value and importance on the health, welfare and quality of life for all Las Cruces residents. I hope they, too, will get much use and enjoyment from this wonderful Fitness Park.”
By the end of 2021, AARP plans to sponsor a fitness park in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to commemorate the organization’s 60 anniversary in 2019. The first AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Park opened in St. Petersburg, Fla., in April 2019. AARP chose Las Cruces for New Mexico’s park.
“We are delighted that Las Cruces was chosen for New Mexico’s park,” said Dave Lynch, AARP New Mexico’s new State President, who happens to live in Las Cruces. “With our beautiful weather here in the south this is something that people will be able to utilize throughout the year.”
“We know how important it is to stay active as we age. The fitness park is designed to allow people of different ages, abilities and fitness levels to get the exercise they need and also get out and enjoy their community,” Lynch said.
AARP is working with FitLot, a 501c3 organization dedicated to helping communities find the resources they need to plan and build outdoor fitness parks.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department will be offering AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness classes beginning January 2022. The Department will announce Schedules and registration instructions in the near future. For information, call the Parks & Recreation Department at 575-541-2550.
Each park includes FitLotTM exercise equipment and comes with programming designed to meet a wide range of fitness levels and abilities. FitLot’s programming includes protocols and instruction on how to safely operate the equipment.
The fitness parks should only be used when permitted by local authorities in compliance with CDC guidance.
Consult with your doctor prior to beginning any new exercise regimen. AARP also has tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on visiting an open recreational facility:
- Bring sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol to wipe down the equipment before and after you use it;
- Keep your distance (6 feet) from anyone who is not in your household;
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use sanitizer after using the equipment, going to the bathroom and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
- And stay home if you are sick with, tested positive for COVID-19, or were recently (within 14 days) exposed to COVID-19.