By Mark Fischenich firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mankato Free Press
---- — MANKATO — South-central Minnesotans can now get a daily full-body workout without joining a fitness center.
Outdoor exercise equipment has been installed and is available for use at Sibley Park.
“If you don’t have a gym membership, you can come here and work out in the summertime,” said Mankato Parks Supt. Mark McQuillan.
Equipment includes a cardio stepper, squat press, Tai-chi wheels, a chest backpress, an ab crunch and leg lift, and more. Located adjacent to the farm-themed playground near Mound Avenue, the Sibley HealthBeat exercise equipment will receive a formal dedication sometime in the next month.
The city’s first outdoor fitness system came to be following a $35,000 grant from the Mayo Clinic Health System, which owns and operates Mankato’s hospital. Dr. Greg Kutcher, regional president and CEO of MCHS, said the purpose of the new equipment is to shrink the number of hospital patients.
“By engaging in regular exercise, people can live healthier, feel better and help reduce the need to access health care services in the first place,” Kutcher said in a statement.
Assistant City Manager Tanya Ange said the equipment will provide all citizens with an opportunity to stay fit and said the addition to Sibley Park’s amenities fits with the prevention and wellness goals that are part of the city’s long-range comprehensive plan, known as Envision 2020.
On Thursday afternoon, the only workouts being conducted on the new equipment were by some kids who had spilled over from the playground and were using some of the contraptions as makeshift monkey-bars. But McQuillan is confident usage will grow as word gets out about the free workout stations.
In addition, some senior citizen groups are planning to bring members to the park with instructions on how each of the machines is used and the health benefits it provides, he said.