Forget the old “life paths” with basic and unattractive tools. L’outdoor fitness it is evolving and, in addition to being good for the body, it is also a pleasure for the eyes. In fact, design stations and tools-installation combine functionality and art, transforming themselves into street furniture: easy to use and beautiful to look at. But not only. The new wellness park concept offers movement opportunities for everyone, with facilities designed and adapted to the needs of women, men, children, the elderly and people in wheelchairs. Each with their own specific island. It was the one who introduced this innovative and inclusive philosophy Gianluca Innocenzi, which with its outdoor fitness company MyEquilibria is redesigning spaces around the world for outdoor workouts. Including Italy, of course: the first areas of a unique wellness park have just been inaugurated in Rimini, which in 7 km will enclose thematic islands on the seafront for all sports and activities (the photo below).
Where did the idea of wellness parks come from?
From a passion for outdoor fitness, discovered ten years ago in the United States: overseas training in the open air was already a super trend. In Miami, I did my workouts in beautiful parks facing the sea, but on iron structures. And one day I asked myself: why not have beautiful tools to look at that also enhance the location? Together with a friend, I created a team of designers and fitness experts. Thus was born the concept of functional art MyEquilibria.
What is the added value of the outdoor workout?
In metropolises, people spend 90% of their time indoors, so contact with nature is a need as well as a right. A need that has become even more felt with the pandemic. The most important cities in the world, right now, are rethinking public spaces with a view to well-being, to allow people to socialize and do many outdoor activities, including sports. For me, seeing them happy to train outdoors in enhanced spaces is the greatest gratification! Indeed, in Miami the community of people who train felt compelled to give something back to the city by organizing solidarity activities every month around our facilities.
What characteristics must outdoor tools have?
They must be structured in such a way as to allow everyone, not just athletes, to do physical activity. In Italy they are 6 million people who play sports in public spaces, and mainly they run and walk. To complete their training they would need to find simple and specific supports, for example to do the abdominals or the stretches of the upper and lower part of the body. While instead they have to be satisfied with benches and fences. We offer functional tools, totally plastic free, in salt-resistant stainless steel and in cement enriched with carbon fiber and customized with recycled marble.
And for athletes with disabilities?
With our scientific research team we are creating innovative areas for preparation for various sports that are inclusive and suitable for every target. We have thought of an area accessible to disabled people, who can find suitable spaces. A few examples? There are pull bars lowered (from 160 to 180 cm in height unlike the classic 220 cm high ones) to allow those in a wheelchair to get there. The parallels are also widened to be accessible by wheelchair. Or, again, the positions with hooks where people can bring their own bands and do all the exercises for the arms and shoulders.
What role does technology play in the use of wellness parks?
It is essential, because public parks are not a gym where you can find the personal trainer who follows you. We have therefore installed some totem with video which tell the philosophy of the project, give information on the benefits and explain which exercises to do in that installation and how to use it. You can also download two Apps for free with more than a thousand tutorials divided by target and degree of difficulty.
What are the characteristics of the Rimini park?
It is a project in progress with 7 km of park which starts from the center and reaches Miramare. There are teak decks, spaces with flower beds, benches for socializing, and thematic islands for fitness. Among the areas inaugurated in June (we are at 50% of the construction) there is the Tree installation for the Calisthenics, the Lady fitness island, with tools adapted to female needs such as lower and thinner traction bars and pink benches for the gag. There is the holistic island with giant stones and mirrors for yoga, pilates, meditation. There is the area for the athletic training for sports: from padel to tennis, up to running. After the summer there will also be the Silver Age, an island dedicated to the over 65s, where people can socialize and make small movements: with benches equipped with handles, rotating plates and massaging aluminum balls, which allow you to do leg exercises , arms and pelvis. A future area for baby fitness is also being studied, which will support instinctive training and will allow you to make circuits with child-friendly tools.
How many other installations have you made in the world?
About 140 and they are constantly increasing. The first wellness park was that of Miami, where it all started with My Tree, the fitness tree on the beach. And then they can be found in Barcelona, Berlin, Athens, Hong Kong, Singapore (pictured above), New Zealand. In the Gulf area, there is a large project in Kuwait, which will include ten islands for fitness. In Italy there are installations in Rome, Milan (in the photo on the side), Prato, Treviso, Segrate, and soon also in the mountains, but for good luck I cannot yet reveal where.