The City of Plant City encourages the public to use the outdoor fitness systems at Dr. Hal & Lynn Brewer and Samuel W. Cooper parks, which were installed between October 2020 and March 2021.
Getting fit doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all process.
When it comes to getting in shape, settings that work well for one person may not work at all for another. And the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to change the way they exercise with gyms and fitness classes shut down for extended periods of time. Making the most of the great outdoors became a popular option as it was promoted as a safer way to enjoy group activities.
Though the gyms are back open and fitness classes have resumed, it’s still a great idea to enjoy the Florida sunshine (before the inevitable afternoon summer storms hit) when you’re working out. One of the City of Plant City’s latest ventures, installing a pair of HealthBeat Outdoor Fitness Systems, will help residents to that for the low cost of $0 up front per person.
“The health of the public is a primary concern and we thought this was a good way to help the community exercise, work out, to raise the overall fitness level of the community,” Parks and Recreation Department director Jack Holland said. “Not everyone participates in team-type activity, so this is something they can do individually to increase their health.”
Each HealthBeat system consists of 14 equipment stations anyone age 13 and up can use for a full-body workout targeting the areas of balance, flexibility, overall strength and cardiovascular health. Both of Plant City’s systems have an elliptical, parallel bars, a hand cycler, a mobility ramp, balance steps, a stretching station, a cardio stepper, a squat press station, a plyometrics station, tai chi wheels, a chest/back press station, an assisted row/push-ups station, an ab crunch/leg lifts station, and a pull up/dips station. Each station has a sign displaying usage and safety information as well as suggested exercises, though seasoned workout warriors will undoubtedly find other creative ways to use the equipment.
All stations are fully ADA compliant and a layer of rubber surfacing on the ground will help protect anyone who falls while working out.
The first HealthBeat system was installed at Dr. Hal & Lynn Brewer Park, 1491 Hunter St., in October 2020. The department recently completed its second HealthBeat system installation at Samuel W. Cooper Park, 900 E. Dr. MLK Boulevard, in March. Both were completed by Rep Services, Inc. under a $165,000 CRA budget via piggyback contracts with Clay County, which the City of Plant City has also done for previous playground equipment.
HealthBeat systems are a product from Landscape Structures, a manufacturer of playground equipment and outdoor fitness equipment suitable for people of a wide range of skill levels. The HealthBeat system is the most beginner-friendly outdoor fitness system the company offers.
“We researched several different companies and came across HealthBeat,” Holland said. “It’s provided through a vendor we’ve used in the past for our playgrounds and we thought we’d give it a shot. We went to various sites where systems like this are already installed and looked at how they hold up through weather, after heavy use and we thought it would be a very good fit for us.”
Though the city has no immediate plans to add more HealthBeat systems in other parks — Holland said the department has pivoted to focus on other areas of need for the time being — the door is open to bring more outdoor fitness systems to Plant City in the future. For now, all residents who meet the minimum age requirement are encouraged to go get a free workout in at any time during daylight hours.