TRURO — It’s not easy for everyone to get to a gym. We all have our reasons. Sometimes it’s the cost, or the time spent traveling back and forth, or the hours not fitting in our own schedules. Parents and grandparents of young children remind me that going to a gym would also mean arranging child care just to get in a workout.
If you’re one of those people who likes the idea of a workout on exercise equipment but just can’t get to a gym, Truro has a workaround for you. The town has installed outdoor fitness equipment at the community center on Standish Way. It’s an approach that many towns are pursuing because it provides opportunities for older and younger generations to exercise and play near one another.
This was the latest step in a phased effort to create a more accessible, multigenerational space at Truro’s Puma Park. An earlier phase included adding a new surface that is wheelchair- and walker-accessible — it’s also soft and springy, which is safer for falls and easier for walking with arthritic joints. Another stage was to add more wheelchair-accessible play structures like the boat and the merry-go-round.
Being an exercise person, I’ve been following this development with anticipation. I headed over for a preview.
One problem with outdoor exercise can be the weather, but the fitness area here is covered by a canopy that provides protection from sun and rain. The equipment is simple but seems solidly built. The stations have easy-to-read directions for recommended exercises, including diagrams showing which muscle groups are active for each move. The variety is appealing, too. For cardio workouts, there are elliptical-type trainers, a recumbent bike, and an upper-body bike. There are high, low, parallel, and slanted bars that provide opportunities for strength, mobility, and agility training. My favorite is the wobble board, which is an excellent tool for improving balance.
Part of what makes a place like this work is the way it invites diverse users. There’s plenty here to provide a gentle workout for newbies and seniors: modified push-ups and squats, balance exercises, and lateral step-overs. But there are also options for more athletic types: pull-ups, chin-ups, inverted rows, and hurdle jumps.
I’ll admit I can get awfully excited about exercise equipment. So, I stayed around to ask others what they think of the new set-up.
Nancy Tarvers, who lives in Truro, said that she enjoys the walking-rolling track around the perimeter. Her son brings her over and she does her laps with a rolling walker. “It’s great to see the kids playing, and I don’t have to worry about walking on the road with cars,” she said.
Patricia Wheeler, also of Truro, stepped up to try the elliptical trainer. And while she was at it, she took the opportunity to tell some kids about an upcoming concert. Watching them chat, I could see some interesting social connections are possible here.
I also saw a young father doing chin-ups and planks while his kids enjoyed the swings. He was getting a serious workout and setting a great example for his children, showing them that he values being active and healthy.
Then I talked to Eloise Montes, a fourth-grader from Wellfleet. I wanted to know what she thought about this place. She replied, “It’s outdoorsy and fun, and I like that it’s accessible to all ages.”
Then she proceeded to demonstrate her hurdle jump (with excellent form, I might add) on the inclined bar. She did some push-ups, too, then went for a spin on the merry-go round with her friends.