Sep 15

City Fit: Incorporating Outdoor Fitness in Urban Spaces

The hustle and bustle of city life is not exactly synonymous with working out and staying fit. Heavy traffic means longer commutes to gyms. High-rise buildings and sprawling downtown centers present challenges for people who want to exercise outside. By incorporating outdoor fitness equipment into public spaces, cities can combat some of these challenges and help residents stay healthy and active. 


Greenways, beltlines, river walks and other public trail systems are present in many cities. These commuter paths are frequented by individuals going to work or exercising and by families spending time together outdoors. Because trails are often distanced from busy streets, they are ideal places to add outdoor fitness equipment. The incorporation of fitness equipment allows people on the trail to casually hop on specific machines. Pull up bars, recumbent cycles, incline benches and balance beams are options that don’t take up excessive amounts of space and can exist as stand-alone equipment or grouped together. For trails that lack open spaces, fitness equipment can be scattered individually along the walkways or next to water foundations or park benches. If a trail has an abundance of open areas, more robust fitness stations can be added so that groups of people can socialize and workout together. When selecting fitness equipment, it’s important to ensure it’s multi-generational and inclusive, so that people of all fitness levels and abilities can enjoy it. 

Multi-generational fitness station


Universities in large cities are realizing the benefits of having fitness equipment in their public spaces. Courtyards and quads are just two of the areas where outdoor fitness equipment is popular. Because these spaces are often shared with magnificent trees, student housing or classroom buildings, compact fitness stations are an ideal option. These composite fitness systems accommodate multiple users at once and provide a variety of full-body training options for people of all fitness levels and abilities. Students and faculty can use the space to workout with a personal trainer, prepare for an upcoming race or get in a quick sweat session between classes. Because of its small footprint and multi-user capacity, a compact fitness station is a great way for students and faculty to stay active and create a sense of community on a university campus. Some universities are even adding customized safety surfacing that is branded for their alma mater. It helps everyone stay in school spirit – even while working out!


Parks play a vital role in the health of cities and the families who live there. As urban sprawl takes up an increasing amount of real estate, many people seek out parks as a place where they can escape the hectic, loud city environment and enjoy some quiet time outdoors. Because parks are frequented by different people and families, they are a great place to add fitness equipment. Some parks have created their own fitness areas adjacent to playground equipment. Parents or caregivers can workout on the different equipment while still having a clear line of vision to children on the playground. Outdoor obstacle courses are especially popular at city parks because it gives people the chance to enjoy some friendly competition! Obstacle courses can include a range of components including climbing walls, ramps, steps and even a forty-yard dash. Larger parks that have surrounding trail systems may opt to add fitness equipment along the perimeter of the area where there are more trees for shade. Incorporating fitness equipment near on-site amenities such as restrooms, water foundations or picnic tables is an added benefit for visitors.

Challenge Course

The inclusion of outdoor fitness equipment in cities is helping more people stay active and fit. Whether the equipment is added to urban trail systems, on university campuses or in local parks, it’s playing a crucial role in infusing health and wellness into city communities by making fitness more accessible and convenient. 

Interested in discussing outdoor fitness equipment for your next project? Please contact CR Studio Design.