POSTED JUNE 10, 2016
(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks & Recreation launches a free outdoor fitness program this summer
Imagine Zumba at the majestic crest of Mt. Tabor Park; a fitness boot camp atop the city at Council Crest Park; a yoga class in the sunlight of the new Khunamokwst Park in the Cully neighborhood. Consider using your lunch break to take a 5k training “lunch crunch” along Waterfront Park. Got kids? Try a free, family-friendly hike -with yoga - in Forest Park, or a family-friendly boot camp at Pier Park. It’s all happening through Portland Park & Recreation (PP&R) this summer, and it’s all free!
Portland Parks & Recreation is launching a FREE, 12-week outdoor Fitness in the Parks program running from June 13 through September 4, 2016. There will be 45 free classes each week, in 30 parks throughout the city.
The full schedule can be found on Portland Parks & Recreation’s website.
Registration is free, and is available online in advance or in-person at any of the classes. Participants will only need to register once, and will be given a bracelet that will allow them to drop in to any class all summer long. The program includes family fitness and youth-focused classes in addition to more typical adult fitness classes. A number of PP&R instructors speak Spanish, and upon request will incorporate bilingual instruction into their classes!
Fitness in the Parks is a pilot program, funded through a City of Portland Innovation Fund Grant. PP&R created the endeavor to reduce barriers, build community, and improve the health and well-being of Portlanders.
“Income level shouldn’t determine health outcomes, but it often does,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “By bringing free fitness classes and family friendly activities to parks throughout the City, we can make a healthy lifestyle more convenient and accessible for all.”
“Nationally, we are seeing an increased commitment by park agencies to build upon the role that parks play in community health, obesity and chronic disease prevention,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “This is especially relevant in a city like Portland, where Portland Parks & Recreation owns and manages more than 11,000 acres, including 209 developed parks and more than 30 natural areas. It makes sense for us to maximize the use of those spaces to promote the health of our community. Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland.”
“PP&R has limited capacity in our community centers,” notes Commissioner Fritz. “So, we are able to serve more Portlanders by moving fitness classes to our many open spaces, and offering them for free.”
“We know that physical environments like parks and trails promote good health, and can reduce socioeconomic health inequalities,” says Fitness in the Parks creator, PP&R’s Megan Dirks. “Fitness in the Parks gives people the opportunity to really get into their parks and actively use them to improve their health.”