Michigan Association of Health Plans

Innovative outdoor fitness facilities are showing up across Michigan, bringing free accessible exercise for many ages

This story appeared in Priority Health’s ThinkHealth blog. Read more here

Since 2019, Priority Health has partnered with the National Fitness Campaign to fight obesity, improve quality of life and create equitable access to exercise.

In our efforts to expand access, we also wanted to consider additional factors when it comes to exercise habits. According to the CDC, the majority of adults that get enough exercise (according to federal guidelines) did so through physical activity performed during leisure time, as opposed to physical activity performed at work.

Enter Priority Health Fitness Courts. They are accessible, outdoor exercise facilities created for all adults and adaptable to any fitness level. They courts are designed to provide a full body workout with seven zones for circuit training – no weights required. The Fitness Courts provide resources for all levels, sizes, abilities and are even wheelchair accessible. Interested in learning more? Explore workouts from the National Fitness Campaign for some inspiration:

Fitness through the phone
In addition to browsing the National Fitness Campaign content library, Fitness Court users can also download the free Fitness Court App to get more curated workouts. Through the app, users can learn new moves and find expert training to add variation to their workout routines. The Fitness Court App is available to download on iOS and Android.

Mental health benefits of exercise
Another great benefit of exercise is that taking care of physical health helps improve mental health, and vice versa. According to the APA, a growing body of research suggests physical fitness is one way to boost brain health and improve quality of life. Maintaining a regular exercise routine can also decrease the effects of stress on the body, improve mental health and mood, and even enhance memory and cognition. Another benefit of physical activity? A better, deeper sleep that helps you fall asleep quicker come bedtime.

Beyond the physical benefits, exercising can also reduce depression and anxiety, release endorphins, boost energy and provide a distraction from negative thoughts and worries.

As an outdoor gym, the Fitness Court also offers greater exposure to sunshine and Vitamin D, which can help improve moods while also strengthening immune systems and reducing inflammation. In addition, being out in the fresh air helps reduce stress, enhance relaxation and provides a boost of energy.

Did we mention there is also a connection between health and relationships? Working out with family or friends helps boost happiness and reduces stress while also helping with accountability and encouraging healthy habits. By the end of 2025, there will be up to 30 Priority Health Fitness Courts in Michigan, reaching approximately one third of Michiganders and provide free access to wellness within a 10-minute bike ride from their homes. Grab your neighbors and get exercising at your local Priority Health Fitness Courts!

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