If we gleaned anything from the pandemic, it’s to make the most of what we have. Gym and fitness studio closures forced athletes to seek alternative venues for exercise. While our world is returning to normal, that doesn’t mean we should let our region’s amenities go unused. This summer, revel in the warm weather and discover a new fitness routine at one of the region’s many outdoor fitness parks.
Mount Trashmore Park
Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation revamped the city’s famed trash-filled hill by installing 10 outdoor fitness stations in 2013. Each station is unique in its design and is outfitted with panels illustrating exercises and targeted muscle groups. Many stations offer alternative exercises for varying fitness levels, too.
A cluster of six LifeTrail stations are situated between Lake Trashmore and Edwin Drive, ideal for individuals looking to improve posture, balance and strength. The four remaining stations are designed by Energi Prime and focus on total body workouts. Similarly, affixed to these stations are demonstrations of potential exercises.
Hillier Ignite Fitness Park
Sweat and sand are the motto for this beachfront fitness park. Since 2016, the Hillier Ignite Fitness Park has drawn athletes of all fitness levels to tackle its challenging equipment. Luke Hillier gifted the park to the city in hopes that Oceanfront residents would utilize the free space for their fitness regimen. To accommodate all bodies, the park is handicapped-accessible.
Hillier Ignite, located at 36th Street along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, is outfitted with an array of strength-training apparatuses and equipment. Within the structure are two high bars, two low bars, parallel bars, fitness climbers and ropes, slackline posts, swing-a-long rings, level ring climbers, low parallel bars, a rope climber, balance beam and a multipurpose post.
Virginia Capital Trail
Cyclists braving the 51.7-mile trek along the Virginia Capital Trail can challenge themselves to a mid-ride strength training session at one of the trail’s three multi-use fitness stations. Steven Rose, founder of Williamsburg’s Eco Discovery Park, financed the systems’ installation last year with as part of a larger vision to enhance the trail.
The multi-gym stations are situated at three different stops along the trail – at the trailhead of the Capital Trail near Jamestown Settlement, at the Greensprings Interpretive Trail trailhead, and at the intersection of John Tyler Highway and Greensprings Road. Each station is hung with an infographic demonstrating the strength exercises.
Elizabeth River Trail
In late 2020, Norfolk’s famed 10-and-a-half mile trail got an exciting upgrade in the form of a waterfront obstacle course. The project was made possible by a number of financial contributions from private and public entities at both the local and state levels. The course is located at the Plum Point Park Trailhead.
The course, designed by KOPMAN, mirrors that of a miniature track outfitted with multi-use equipment like swiveling monkey bars, a zig-zag balance beam and staggered stepping stones. Also between the official start and finish lines painted onto the track are custom hurdles, a pull-up station and a vertical rope net.
First Landing State Park
With shifting terrain and plenty of tree cover from the region’s summer heat, First Landing State Park is a premier destination for fitness gurus. Its most heavily traveled path, the Cape Henry Trail, traverses roughly 6 miles from the park boundary near the Shore Drive entrance to the 64th Street Narrows.
Not only is the lengthy stretch perfect for running, biking and other cardiovascular exercises, but Healthtrek fitness systems allow visitors to capitalize on strength training, too. Each station focuses on a specific workout and offers modified movements for varying difficulty levels.