Fitness stations in Cranberry parks offer healthy opportunities

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Patty Rudy thought it looked like a small playground from a distance.

Luckily, her niece Alyssa Mitchell had heard about the new outdoor fitness stations at Graham Park and North Boundary Park in Cranberry and wanted to try them out in the middle of their run.

Only three adults tried one of the three Graham Park stations from 6 to 8 p.m.

Given the dozens of children playing on the fitness stations before or after their baseball and softball games, there may be an initial misconception about their intended use.

“I'd heard something about this, but I didn't know it existed yet,” Rudy, 32, of Cranberry said. “It's actually a really nice, free opportunity for someone like me that doesn't have time for a gym membership.”

Mitchell, 12, of Cranberry, said that without a gym membership she'll try to come to the park more often to work out with friends. Rudy, a pain medicine nurse for Advanced Pain Medicine, said that she hopes more in the community take advantage of fitness stations.

“Sedentary lifestyles can lead to multiple health issues such as obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and body pain,” Rudy said. “I hope that we can reach out to the community and let them know of all the resources that Cranberry Township and local areas have to offer.”

Pete Geis, Cranberry's director for parks and recreation, said the fitness stations were built as a part of the township's master plan for a healthier and more connected community.

“Developing programs for kids' parents and other adults at these parks are important, and this is a part of that” said Parks and recreation Director Pete Geis.

“A lot of our advancements have been geared toward children, so I think this addresses that need for adults to have more opportunities, too.”

Each station in Graham Park and another in North Boundary Park opened on June 4 and have up to 11 weight resistant machines that can be used to work out.

They were manufactured by Greenfields Outdoor Equipment in California and are the same outdoor fitness stations used by the San Francisco 49ers, according to Geis.

“The equipment is built for outside use,” Geis said.

“Many of the United States military use this equipment also, because it withstands different climates like the ones we have here.”

While demonstrations for use are on the equipment, there are also QR codes on each machine that link to free video instructions.

Residents can also attend free hour-long instructional sessions by fitness instructors Jen Craston and Nancy Tricuit at the Graham Park Soccer Campus station on June 18, at 6:30 p.m. and June 28, at 10 a.m.

The project was funded by the Cranberry Township Community Chest, which raised $195,000 for the stations with help from local businesses and organizations.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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