This past March, Sterling Heights held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Bocce Barn, an indoor bocce ball facility that features two club-size courts among its amenities. Located behind the Sterling Heights Senior Center, the Bocce Barn served as the final capstone project for the Recreating Recreation initiative, a millage-funded drive passed by voters and launched in 2016.

“We’re excited to bring Recreating Recreation to a close after five+ years of continuous improvement to our community’s recreation amenities,” Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois said at the time of its opening. “This final amenity rounds out a diverse mix of new opportunities we’ve curated for our community, and we’re proud that these new courts will make bocce more accessible for everyone, including our 50+ residents, compared to the former outdoor courts.”

A diverse mix of new opportunities is right. That initiative spawned numerous investments in the city that appeal to a wide range of residents, including a skate park, the Community Center, and even an award-winning Esports Arena.

But just because the city has wrapped on Recreating Recreation, that doesn’t mean Sterling Heights is through with investing in recreation opportunities throughout the community. Earlier this week, city officials once again gathered at the Senior Center to celebrate the opening of yet another recreation amenity installed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Introducing the 50+ Outdoor Fitness Park.
The 50+ Outdoor Fitness Park is located at the Sterling Heights Senior Center.
“The Outdoor Fitness Park is the newest amenity to help our Senior Center members  maintain physical fitness, increase socialization and enjoy three of Michigan’s seasons,” says Kristen Briggs, Sterling Height Recreation Superintendent. “There are machines that focus on cardio fitness and several that help with strength training. The addition of machines that are wheelchair accessible make it an inclusive space to help all our patrons age well.”

Funded through a federal Community Development Block Grant CARES Act, the Outdoor Fitness Park expands upon the interior amenities of the Senior Center – cardio room, walking track, gymnasium, fitness classes – and brings a little bit of that energy into the outdoors. Nine workout machines allow guests to work on their cardiovascular health, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility, and all while enjoying a little fresh air and Vitamin D. What’s more is that the park incorporates inclusivity into its amenities, with five of the nine machines accessible to those in wheelchairs.

The benefits of physical activity as we age are numerous, of course. When it comes to mitigating the risks of aging, exercise can be preventative in nature, or help managing pre-existing conditions. And it improves quality of life issues, like better sleep and less anxiety, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that’s especially true for those adults aged 65 and older; the fact the outdoor fitness center is available to those above 50 is even better. As the CDC says, “Every week, adults 65 and older need physical activities that include: At least 150 minutes (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking. Or you need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as hiking, jogging, or running. At least 2 days of activities that strengthen muscles. Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot.”

The Outdoor Fitness Park expands upon the interior amenities of the Senior Center and brings a little bit of that energy into the outdoors.

It’s hoped that the 50+ Outdoor Fitness Center, and the Senior Center as a whole, provides our senior neighbors that much more opportunity to accomplish their fitness goals.

“The city of Sterling Heights is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals within our community at every age,” reads a statement from Mayor Michael Taylor. “Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation continues to provide opportunities that leverage our surroundings to motivate us to pursue a healthier and happier lifestyle.”


Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

By admin