Listen to this article here
Residents and visitors to Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District now have a new place to play, gather and exercise, thanks to a new AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park. The fitness park is located at 698 E. Jasper St. in the B.S. Roberts Park, across the street from Langston University – Tulsa campus.
The installation is a part of AARP’s 60th-anniversary commemoration with fitness parks constructed in every state, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Designed for all ages and abilities, AARP’s outdoor fitness park makes the benefits of an indoor facility free and accessible to everyone in an open-air setting. The fitness park features ellipticals, pull-up bars, stair steppers and other equipment for cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
New park opens in Historic Greenwood District
Each piece of equipment will have a QR code that people can scan with their smartphones to access a video that will guide them through exercises. Instructor-led fitness programming will also be provided by AARP in 2022 in partnership with the City of Tulsa Parks Department.
AARP Oklahoma has also partnered with the Historic Greenwood District Main Street Program to promote health and wellness in the Black community.
“Health and wellbeing are central to our lives. AARP is proud to provide this vibrant, accessible AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park to the local community in Tulsa,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “Support for healthy aging has been a priority for AARP since our founding more than 60 years ago. AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness parks also help bring communities together in safe and healthy ways, which is particularly important as we navigate new phases of staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Fitness park addresses health disparities
A growing number of studies link exercise not only to cardiovascular health and an increased life span, but also to lower rates of depression, dementia and other issues. Notably, north Tulsans have a lower life expectancy than residents living in south Tulsa, according to the city’s Equality Indicators Report.
“We believe reimagining and creating new healthy spaces and places for north Tulsa residents and the Tulsa community will drastically increase life expectancy,” said Bill White, Greenwood Main Street executive director.
In addition to the new AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness park location, B.S. Roberts Park also received a new bicycle rental station provided by This Machine Tulsa funded by a grant through Better Bike Share. The bicycles are located adjacent to the fitness park equipment and are available year-round for low-cost rental.
AARP also collaborated with FitLot, a New Orleans–based nonprofit, to create the parks. FitLot’s programming includes protocols and instruction on how to safely operate the equipment, even as the nation copes with the pandemic. The fitness parks should only be used when permitted by local authorities in compliance with CDC guidance. For a list of open AARP-sponsored outdoor fitness parks, visit fitlot.org/parks.