Call of the Wild: Outdoor Fitness
Get a jump on fitness at local parks with outdoor exercise stations, zip lines and more.
Let’s face it. Exercise can become boring. With nicer weather finally upon us, it’s a great time to change up repetitive workout routines. Several Delaware state and regional parks offer exercise opportunities to advance your exercise regimen. Fitness stations, with sit-up benches and pull-up bars, can be found at various parks, including Glasgow Regional Park, Bellevue State Park and Cape Henlopen State Park. Lums Pond State Park offers a different challenge with its Go Ape! zip line and treetop adventure course. There, guests get an experience that allows them to go above and beyond the park’s trails. Zip-line style.
Lums Pond State Park
The zip line and treetop adventure course at Lums Pond in Bear offer park visitors two to three hours of outdoor exercise. “It provides a unique visitor experience that lets people view the park from a heightened perspective while getting some exercise,” says Mike Moyer, superintendent of Lums Pond State Park. Sara Morris, who is a third-year instructor at Go Ape!, has completed the course more times than she can count. “It’s so fun, but also a great way to challenge yourself,” she says. “Even though I have worked there for multiple seasons, I have never grown even slightly bored of it.”
The aerial adventure course is made up of five different sites. Each site has an obstacle that leads to a zip line. Four of the five lines soar over the park’s pond, offering a beautiful view. The lines then connect to the forest floor, where the next obstacle begins. “Guests go through the sites in order, from one to five,” Morris says. “Each site gradually becomes higher and longer.” For instance, the first site begins at five feet above ground. As participants make their way through the obstacles, they reach their final destination, which is a whopping 45 feet off the ground. The last line soars across the pond for 700 feet.
“Often people are pleasantly surprised at how well they did, how far they got or even how much fun they had,” Morris says. Safety is a top concern. All participants go through a 30- to 40-minute briefing, given by Go Ape! instructors, who also check equipment before each takeoff. One instructor is always on patrol as the guests make their way through the course. Says Morris, “Our top most priority is safety, then fun!” The outdoor experience has also drawn more visitors to the park. “While attendance has been steadily increasing, it has increased more rapidly since the course was installed,” Moyer says. For more information and prices, visit www.goape.com.
Glasgow Regional Park
The 2.75-mile walking path at Glasgow, New Castle County’s newest park, has an added bonus—outdoor workout equipment. The stations, along a portion of the trail that runs parallel to Del. 896, include push-up bars, sit-up benches, and other challenges to boost a workout. A recent visitor, Oliver Farnum, who lives in Marshfield, Mass., uses the exercise stations whenever he is in Delaware. “I usually do sit-ups and push-ups after a run anyway, and the stations were perfect for that,” he says. “Overall, Glasgow Park is a great workout spot to get in a run and workout with the help of the fitness stations.”
Bellevue State Park
Bellevue State Park
Bellevue State Park in North Wilmington offers visitors 20 different fitness stations along its Oval Track. The 1.1-mile walking path—a former du Pont outdoor horseracing track in the mid-1900s—is now used for everyday running, as well as organized races.
Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park may be known for its beaches, but the Sussex County park also offers a number of walking trails and paths. The bike loop trail is three miles and links the major areas of the park. The fitness-station section is separate from the walking trails but easy to find. “It’s not far from the Seaside Nature Center,” says park superintendent Paul Faircloth. “[It] has an assortment of fitness stations all in one area. There is a balance beam, pull-up station and sit-up/crunch table.” A bonus: Exercise enthusiasts can jump into the ocean after their workout.