AARP Makes Long-term Investment in Burlington’s Health
with New Fitness Park
AARP Vermont and the City of Burlington opened an AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Park in Burlington’s New North End in July as a long-term investment in the health of residents.
Located at the Miller Center, the park will host programming including an exercise class demonstrating use of all equipment in a 45-60 minute circuit.
“AARP Vermont has a strong commitment to the Burlington community and to encouraging fitness and physical activity for all ages as part of a healthy, livable community,” said Greg Marchildon, AARP Vermont state director. “This park will be a place for residents to enjoy exercise activity together while engaging with neighbors of all ages.”
“We have always worked to help Americans – especially those over 50 – maintain their health as they age, and this fitness park will help Burlingtonians stay active and healthy,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. “The goal of healthy aging is more important than ever, as average life expectancies have increased. This park can be one tool to help people stay healthy, whether they use it today or in a few months or years.” 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.
Cindi Wight, director of Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront helped coordinate the project. “Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront was thrilled to be chosen for an AARP sponsored outdoor fitness park,” she said. “We determined that placing the unit outside of our Miller Community Center would be a perfect addition to the Center, where we offer programming for all ages. The center is also close to C.P. Smith Elementary and Hunt Middle School, allowing additional options for PE classes. We encourage the community to stop by and check it out!”
Over the next few years, 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 60th anniversary last year. The fitness parks have been designed and built to serve communities for a decade or more. The first AARP sponsored outdoor fitness park opened in St. Petersburg, Fla., in April 2019. AARP is working with FitLot, a 501c3 organization dedicated to helping communities find the resources they need to plan and build outdoor fitness parks. Each park includes FitLotTM exercise equipment and comes with robust 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, even as the nation copes with the pandemic. 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, get your heart and body pumping, soak in some Vitamin D and safely connect with others in your community:
- 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;
- Keep groups small, with no more than 10 people gathered;
- 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 feeling unwell or have been exposed to anyone who has COVID-19 or any other illness.
For a list of open AARP Sponsored Outdoor Fitness Parks, visit: blog.aarp.org/aarp-fitness-parks