A new outdoor fitness court has opened at the Park District of Forest Park, with the aim of offering free fitness at all hours to residents.
“It’s always open,” said Jackie Iovinelli, executive director of the park district. “The goal is, as long as the park is open, it’s free fitness for all. We will never have it closed at any time, and it can’t be reserved at any time.”
The court is located east of the soccer fields at 7501 Harrison St., between the tennis courts and day camp building. Iovinelli said representatives from the San Francisco-based National Fitness Campaign saw an aerial view of the park district in October and fell in love with the park’s location. They encouraged the park district to apply for a grant to install a fitness court in the community and, eventually, the park district received about $30,000 in funding from the organization, Iovinelli said.
After the park district received the funds, Rush Oak Park Hospital wanted in. The hospital gifted $40,000 to install the court. “It’s the largest sponsorship we’ve ever received; we’re so excited that they are on board with it,” Iovenelli said. The park district covered the remaining $30,000 in installation and concrete padding fees.
After about two months of construction, the fitness court opened on June 1. Iovenelli said Forest Park’s court is just the second in the state — the other is in northwest Belvidere.
It consists of seven stations, with the corresponding seven movements intended to work out residents’ core, test their agility, teach them to lunge, and more. Each movement is intended to be completed in just 45 seconds, with a 15-second break in between. The National Fitness Campaign claims that its system “allows you to get a full body workout in just seven minutes.”
Residents can download the “Fitness Court” mobile application, which guides them through the movements, personalizes workouts and allows them to compete with their best times and other app users. Park district staff are also working on a summer schedule for instructors to teach fitness classes. Signs are posted next to equipment to instruct athletes on their proper use.
“It’s been a team effort to get this brought to the park, and that is exciting and a great opportunity,” Iovinelli said. “It’s free fitness for all in the community. It’s unique to the Chicagoland area and at a very minimal cost to the taxpayers.”