Beautiful living – residential construction discovers residential surroundings

Beautiful living – residential construction discovers residential surroundings

The training of the future will ideally take place in your own residential district, where locals can work out in their free time. If a person’s place of residence continues to be a place of refuge, the housing sector is currently focussing on an attractively designed residential area with a range of balanced leisure time choices where neighbours and friends enjoy passing the time. This is why residential construction has concerned itself for some time now with thoughts of integrating free, usable exercise trails as a trendsetting element of an attractive and simultaneously active residential environment. This trend provides an elementary building block for the preservation of the structure of the district against the backdrop of demographical development.

Outdoor fitness equipment by playfit® already helps raise the value of modern residential surroundings in various residential districts thanks to its appealing design and functionality. Once embedded in the residential area management it can offer more targeted training hours through simple communication options than possibly in the public domain.

Three different concepts as examples of how outdoor fitness equipment has been integrated into the infrastructure of residential complexes up to now:

  • As a multi-generational area with the characteristics of a village square that is freely accessible to all
  • As a fitness trail that traces a pre-determined route through the residential area
  • As a contained area, accessible only to residents and their guests


Two examples of the successful realisation of a village square concept that is freely accessible to all.


SBV (self-help construction association) ‒ residing and life in Flensburg: Vitalparcours exercise trail in the Fruerlund district park

In May 2013 the SBV Foundation Helmut Schumann donated a playfit® Vitalparcours to the residents of Flensburg for the Fruerlund district park. In Mühlenholz, just round the corner from the headquarters of SBV eG, the Vitalparcours offers an open outdoor training area, which is accessible to all. The exercise trail lies in the middle of the Fruerlund district and came about during an extensive renovation process that was carried out in the area. "We want to bring exercise into everyday life while simultaneously creating opportunities for young and old alike to make contact with new people. Exercising in the Vitalparcours keeps you healthy and fit, doesn’t cost anything, and comes with no obligations," is how it is described in the SBV's magazine 360° Gemeinschaftshaus.  

The exercise trail consists of six fitness stations which can be used by residents wishing to be physically active irrespective of age, free of charge, with no opening or closing times and with no need for sports clothing. Around €30,000 was invested in the exercise equipment by the SBV Foundation. Anyone who wishes to can train on the equipment to keep fit into old age. The installation should not only serve the purpose of catering for more exercise in the district, but also help create new opportunities for meeting people. Easy to comprehend exercise instructions make it possible for anyone to enjoy clear and targeted training, which supports co-ordination, strength, stamina, mobility, flexibility and mobilisation.

"Being physically active in the company of like-minded people is more fun: there is reciprocal motivation and a sense of pleasure at the prospect of seeing the group again," according to the SBV Foundation.   

Outside the winter break (November until the end of March), a sports student from the University of Flensburg is on site twice a week for an hour. He introduces you to the individual pieces of equipment and gives tips on how to warm up, as well as additional exercises. Participation in the introductory sessions is very variable (depending on the weather) ‒ some athletes are already real 'regulars'.

The exercise trail is also occasionally used by SBV employees who enjoy a little bit of exercise during their lunch break to balance out their office work.


Housing association UNION eG in Gera: Exercise world UNION Park

The UNION Park exercise world was officially opened in the summer of 2011 with a successful opening ceremony ‒ the talk was of the park facility being enhanced. Seven pieces of playfit® equipment are arranged between two buildings on a central plaza. There are awnings stretched across the installation which provide partial cover from rain and sun. Enclosed by a pergola with various seating opportunities, the plaza has become a popular meeting point for young and old. Tournaments take place regularly on the neighbouring boules pitch. Congestion around the equipment is particularly high during various events held here.  

From the outset regular sports courses have been offered here in an attempt to bring the residents to the equipment. The caretaker reports that people can be seen using the equipment as early as 7:30am and that this has been warmly received. It has been noticed, however, that without the existence of fixed exercise hours, the equipment is used less frequently. A training session offered at 10am proves not very useful given that those employed professionally are not on site and the elderly residents often have doctors' appointments in the mornings. This is why sports courses are scheduled to be offered in the evening hours as of next year.


DEGEWO Wohnungsgesellschaft mbH (DEGEWO housing association) in Berlin Gropiusstadt locality: Gropiusmeile

The Gropiusstadt, a diverse locality in the leafy area of southern Berlin, was designed in the sixties by the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. A major attraction in among the numerous green areas is the Gropiusmeile, an exercise trail with exemplary character: In order to enhance the residential environment of the Gropiusstadt locality, a jogging and exercise trail ("Gropiusstadt on the move") was created within the framework of the support programme 'Soziale Stadt' (social town) and ceremoniously opened in June 2009. There are three well-signposted jogging routes along the seven kilometre long Gropiusmeile that lead through the Gropiusstadt. Fitness points are dotted along the routes, with attractive and robust playfit® equipment inviting users to come and exercise. Aside from walkers and joggers, the Gropiusmeile offers school classes the opportunity to relocate their PE lesson outside and into the open air. Club teams are equally welcome to use the exercise trail for targeted training sessions. Last but not least is the fact that it is an incentive for all residents to make exercise a part of their daily lives ‒ irrespective of age and sporting ability.

Even residents from neighbouring districts are attracted to the Gropiusmeile. A middle-aged man reported: "I do 50 repetitions on the equipment every day. It's good for me, keeps me fit while I'm unemployed. If I didn't do it, I would go to rack and ruin."

A 76-year-old pensioner from Britz praised the site: "The leg trainer and the massage equipment for the hands, arms and legs are very good for me. I work on my leg cramps using them. That is how I got rid of the cramps in my calves."

The integration association ImPULS e.V. also offers a weekly exercise course at the Gropiusmeile led by a trainer. "Proper integration only happens when a tight sense of togetherness between various age groups, between the 'old' and the 'new' residents of Berlin, between natives and migrants can be created….," states an association employee. Given that outdoor fitness equipment not only invites people to exercise, but also to improve communication, this is a place where active integration takes place.


Example of a completed area

Since summer 2010 there have been eight pieces of playfit® outdoor fitness equipment in the Pennefelder fitness point, located in a VEBOWAG (housing association) estate in Bonn. During the first few years, a local physical therapist offered regular training sessions on the equipment. Awareness of the site was fostered as a result of various organisations and events, such as, for example, organised neighbourhood meeting points. "If you stay on the ball, then you will also get the people to exercise using the equipment," according to a VEBOWAG employee speaking in 2012. Being able to offer training sessions is important here, which is why VEBOWAG plans to restart regular training hours in the coming Spring.



Photo: Playfit GmbH

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