Due to living downtown, I spend a lot of time running, biking, or walking on the Charles River path. It’s a great fitness outlet provided by the city that gives you trees, grass, and a river while still being very close to the heart of Boston. One thing I’ve never done on the path however, is use the Fitness Park they built a few years ago. It has pull-up bars, benches, and a variety of other pieces of equipment you can use for a workout. I always see people using it but I’ve never taken part myself.
I didn’t just want to do one of my own routines because the city of Boston went to the trouble of installing workout guidelines scattered throughout the Fitness Park itself:
There were also signs for people in wheelchairs to show them how to use the equipment in the park:
I decided that I’d follow these guidelines and use that as my workout. My question was, “Can I get a really good workout in by following these guidelines or are they just for people who need the extra help and don’t know how to do it themselves?” They have clear pictures for each exercise with a table for reps including different difficulties: Starting Par (easiest), Sporting Par (moderate), and Championship (hardest). So I decided to go for the Championship status to see if I could do it.
I’m obviously not in a wheelchair like the descriptions above but I did the workouts modified. I went through the Championship level and decided that it wouldn’t be enough so I went through the sequence twice at the Championship level before moving onto the next set of exercises.
Again I had the same experience here; I found that doing the highest recommended level wouldn’t be enough to get a serious workout in. I’m not crazy strong/fit by any stretch of the imagination but I do think that I’m not really in the target market for these workout guidelines. Someone who exercises daily probably doesn’t need much help to figure out how to use the equipment in the fitness park and how many repetitions it will take to give them a good burn. So I continued with the same methodology of going through each sign twice at the highest level before moving on. Here are the other pictures just for description of what I did for exercises:
The exercises included stretching, horizontal chin-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, vault bar, more sit-ups, more push-ups, chin-ups, knee lifts, body curls, arm rotations, back arches, more chin-ups, log hopping, bench dips, bench curls, toe touches, body stretches, more bench dips, and a cool-down. I spent 42 minutes going through these workouts and had a min/max/average heart rate of 77/157/117. I was sweating heavily and pretty spent after the workout was finished but I didn’t find that these signs provided a tremendous amount of value to my workout, I could have done the same thing on my own. However, it was fun to explore the signs and to use each piece of equipment in the park. I probably wouldn’t do the same thing again but I can definitely see myself using the fitness park to mix in some upper body fitness into the middle of a run or bike, much like the Spartan Race WOD I did earlier in the week. Despite my disinterest in using these signs I still think they’re a positive thing for the city to have invested in. Anything that can help people get moving and exercise a bit is money well spent in my opinion.