Those looking for a new and different workout challenge will soon find it at Simmons Park on Aurora’s east side as a new fitness facility opens at the venue.
The new Fox Valley Park District exercise facility was created thanks to a $50,000 grant from Illinois’ Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the National Fitness Campaign, a wellness consulting firm that provides programs and services to cities, schools and sponsors.
The court will open Sept. 29 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. at the park, 1191 E. Indian Trail in Aurora.
Fox Valley Park District Director of Recreation Jaime Ijams said the district applied for a portion of the grant money back in April and is one of 15 Illinois agencies selected to receive a fitness spot.
The National Fitness Campaign, begun in 1979, was founded “to fight obesity and improve the quality of life in our communities.”
Ijams said to date, “There are over 200 (National Fitness Campaign) courts across the country and their goal is to continue to grow these to build healthy communities and provide free access to fitness.”
“Your initiative aligns well with our mission to make a positive impact on our community by promoting health and well-being through our parks and open spaces and by providing access for all,” she said.
The course measures 32 feet by 35 feet and includes various training stations.
“The pad has a flat rubber tile surface and there’s a backboard and multiple stations for exercise — it’s all bodyweight training,” Ijams said. “The court consists of 30 all-weather machines divided into seven stations to perform bodyweight exercises such as core, squatting, lunging, pulling, agility, box jumps and sit-ups. People can download an app to scan on the fitness wall and it gives them all kinds of workouts as well as different skill-based challenges.”
Designed for those aged 14 and over — and of all abilities — the workouts are adaptable for all fitness levels, allowing participants to move at their own pace, officials said.
Simmons Park was chosen for the gym, Ijams said, “because of its central location.”
“You can see it (the fitness facility) from Indian Trail, and we wanted it so that people walking or driving past on the trail could easily see it and get to it — access was a big deal,” she said. “It was perfect for this with the amenities in the park and the open space.”
David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.