The recent redevelopment of the Burlington Waterfront, and Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, provided some much needed upgrades to one of our most beautiful and frequented parks and paths along the Lake Champlain shoreline. One addition was a bit surprising when I learned of it, and I couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes — outdoor fitness equipment!
Three separate outdoor fitness stations were installed along the Burlington Greenway thanks to a donation from the UVM Medical Center. These Urban Reserve fitness stations, which you can find just North of the old Moran Plant, directly along the shoreline, and starting parallel to the dog park, are intended to increase the physical activity of bike path users.
You may be wondering what exactly an outdoor fitness station looks like, so on a recent adventure along the bike path, I stopped at each station to check out the equipment, take some pictures, and see what each station had to offer.
Directly across from the dog park, and with a close view of the lake, you’ll find two pieces of equipment. The first piece is a “Health Walker”. You use your arms and feet to swing forward and backward.
The second and larger piece of equipment is three-sided. It includes multiple exercises. One side has a bench with three levels of “Hip Lift & Thigh Squeeze Exercises” (basic, intermediate and advanced levels).
The second side has arms for “Standing Stretches & Yoga Poses”, and provides instruction for eight different poses.
The third side is for “Push-Up Exercises”, again at three different levels (basic, intermediate, advanced).
A little further North and still across from the dog park, is a similar station, but this one is even closer to the lake and includes a couple additional pieces.
The first piece of exercise equipment is an arm stretch exercise. The instruction sheet was pretty minimal here, but the exercise is simple enough.
There is another three-sided piece at this station. One side has hand wheels for “Upper-Body Cycling Exercises,” this time at two levels (basic and advanced). It is also Wheelchair Accessible (ADA).
Another side (unfortunately already tagged with graffiti), is for “Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)” exercises. And what exactly is PNF, you might be wondering? It is a method of muscle contraction and relaxation, a stretching to maximize flexibility. This one includes a mirror (which, side note, could really use some cleaning, but that’s about what you should expect being outside).
The next side is a simple space with a series of “Stretch Exercises,” ranging from side to back stretches. This space is also Wheelchair Accessible (ADA).
Station two also features this “Dynamic Stretches & Active Movement” platform, with a series of exercises you are recommended to try for three days. There are three levels to the exercises (beginner, intermediate, advanced), but what I like the most is the amazing view (which will be much more beautiful in just a few short weeks).
The back side of this equipment includes instructions and a series of horizontal bars for “Static Stretches,” again recommended for a period of three days. It should be noted that the Granite Steps are located here, which is a great place to rest between exercises.
Lastly, there is a bench for “Core & Torso Exercises” (like sit-ups and scissor legs). This one is also recommended for at least three days per week, and has three levels of difficulty.
The last station is further North, just before a small beach and an overlook with seating. It offers another beautiful view while you exercise, and includes several different pieces of equipment. One of them is another three-sided piece.
One side of this piece looked a bit complicated at first glance, but the instructions are pretty clear. It is for “Overhead Press Exercises” at two difficulty levels. It is also Wheelchair Accessible (ADA).
On another side is a set of instructions for “Tricep Strength & Torso Stability Exercises,” using a chair, at two difficulty levels.
On the final side are instructions and bars for “Squat Exercises” at three difficulty levels.
The next piece of equipment includes multiple platforms. On one side, you use the platform for “Agility Step Exercises,” including lateral steps and jump squats.
Along the same lines, there are two square steps and instructions for “Power Step Exercises” on the back side.
The next piece of equipment (which looks somewhat like a giant pogo stick) didn’t have any written instruction, but the visuals were simple to follow.
The final piece of equipment was popular, and getting some real action, so I had to wait to snag a couple photos. It’s another three-day exercise for “Pulling & Back Exercises,” leveraging multiple horizontal bars.
decade since I’ve had a gym membership. My go-to exercise is speed walking or biking. When I heard about the outdoor exercise equipment, my immediate thought was to question the sanitation. People sweat, and while I saw numerous people using the equipment, I didn’t see anyone wipe down any of the equipment they used.
Here’s my takeaway. On the plus side, you can go to the waterfront and get a complete workout, at any difficulty level (and even in a wheelchair), all while taking in some truly awe-inspiring views of the lake and mountains. And you can’t beat the low, low price of FREE admission (well, there may be a parking fee depending on the time/day). But still, the accessibility is really amazing, and the instructions are all pretty easy to follow. If sanitation is a concern, simply bring some alcohol wipes or other small cleaning product to wipe the equipment down before use. Really, the perks greatly outweigh the cons.
In the future, we’ll see two more outdoor fitness stations added to the mix, with one planned for Leddy Park and one for Starr Farm Park. These are two more great locations, just off the bike path.
Have you used the Burlington Greenway outdoor exercise equipment? What did you think?