Free Outdoor Gyms Opening in Miami-Dade

Gyms opening thanks to joint venture between the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department and The Trust for Public Land

By Gilma Avalos
|  Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013  |  Updated 9:02 AM EDT
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Miami-Dade is opening outdoor gyms that are free to the public, Rachel, Steven Carreras, Anabella Pardo and Dory DeJesus comment

Miami-Dade is opening outdoor gyms that are free to the public, Rachel, Steven Carreras, Anabella Pardo and Dory DeJesus comment

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Concord Park has a spanking new Fitness Zone, an outdoor gym complete with elliptical machines, a chest press, leg press, and benches for ab-work. And you won't need a membership for this gym.

"I was thinking about joining a gym but money is a factor. It's $30 a month and you get to do this for free," said Rachel, a resident of the Southwest Miami-Dade community who said she plans to work out twice a day.

The initiative comes courtesy of a joint venture between the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department and The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit. With one in four Floridians classified as obese, the outdoor gyms are designed to help folks in the community break a sweat without breaking the bank.

For Rachel the price isn't the only thing that's right.

"It's a few steps from the house, free, and It's really, really nice out here," she said.

"I get excited because its free!," said 17-year-old Steven Carreras.

The equipment is designed for people 14 and older, giving teens a chance to put the gadgets down for a change.

"Most teens sit at home, play video games, and don't have anything to do," said Carreras, who's been using the gym often since it opened last Wednesday.

"It's good because you get to work out with other people. You don't feel alone or anything," said college student Anabella Pardo, who's home for the summer.

The equipment is also ADA accessible. Those who use wheelchairs can benefit from it. The machines are designed to allow the person to remain seated in his/her wheelchair while utilizing the machines.

There are now a total of 11 across Miami-Dade, with more in the works. At Blue Lake park in Westchester, Dory DeJesus couldn't wait to tear the plastic off the equipment.

"Oh! We can work out there!," was her reaction when she saw the equipment, nearly ready to go.

DeJesus says working out with her family is a priority. While her girls walk the dogs, the boys play basketball, and now she'll get her cardio in.

"People should take advantage of what's available and I think the park will get filled up," she said.

The Fitness Zone in Blue Lake Park should be open to the public in about a week. The work on the Gould's Park project in Southwest Miami-Dade should get underway in August.

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