SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Sept. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As thousands of active older adults convened here this week for the Illinois Senior Olympics, AARP opened an exciting new outdoor fitness park at Lincoln Park in coordination with the Springfield Park District.
The AARP sponsored outdoor fitness park at Lincoln Park is the seventh such park to open in the United States and the only one planned in Illinois.
Over the next several years, AARP plans to sponsor a fitness park in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of its ongoing mission of helping people to take control of their health as they age and to commemorate the association's 60th anniversary. AARP is working with FitLot, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping communities find the resources they need to plan, build and program outdoor fitness parks. Each park will include FitLot™ exercise equipment that can be adapted to meet a wide range of fitness levels and abilities.
"We couldn't be more thrilled to open this outdoor fitness park in Springfield as the city hosts the Senior Olympics," said AARP Director of Advocacy and Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder, before joining Park District Board President Leslie Sgro and other officials to cut the ribbon.
"As Senior Olympics athletes understand well, keeping active is great way to stay healthy and connected. This is a space to play and enjoy, free to the public, including our members. It's my sincere hope that this park will get good use and bring together Springfield in a new way for years to come."
"The Springfield Park District is thrilled that this park provides a safe and healthy outdoor fitness area. It is another example of our ongoing commitment to provide affordable opportunities to promote health and wellbeing for the Springfield community. We are excited to showcase this outdoor fitness park in Lincoln Park and invite the community to join us," said Leslie A. Sgro, President of the Springfield Park District Board of Trustees.
In addition to Gruenenfelder and Park District President Sgro, the AARP opening ceremony included Sen. Steve McClure; Ryan Melchin, District Director for Representative Mike Murphy; Carol Harms, Executive Director of Senior Services of Central Illinois; Adam Mejerson, Founder and Executive Director of FitLot; Jack Handy, Executive Board Member for the Senior Olympics and members of AARP and the community.
"When you exercise, you feel better mentally and physically, there's no question about that," said Jack Handy, Illinois Senior Olympics Athlete and board member. "This is just another thing that people over the age of 50 can participate in and have fun."
Today's event featured free healthy food, giveaways* and FitLot™ exercise equipment demonstrations.
The next outdoor fitness park sponsored by AARP is scheduled to open next Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware, and more than a dozen parks are planned for 2019 in locations across the country.
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
*While supplies last.
SOURCE AARP Illinois