Katie Johnson, a community nutrition educator at Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Cedar in Menomonie, demonstrates one of 10 stations at an outdoor exercise area of Riverside Park in Menomonie. The equipment was funded through a Mayo endowment grant.

MENOMONIE — Getting in better shape doesn’t have to involve sweating inside a gym or an exercise room, at least not in Menomonie. 

On Wednesday. Rebecca Hayden, a fitness instructor with Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Cedar in Menomonie, tried out newly installed exercise equipment a Riverside Park on Hudson Road. Mayo paid for the installment of 10 pieces of exercise equipment, which cost $25,000, including installment.

Hayden came up with the idea for the outdoor fitness park after seeing them in Minnesota.

“The equipment, if all the stations are used, will provide a full-body workout,” Hayden said, noting five of the machines provide a cardiovascular workout, and five are for strength training. Each machine has an accompanying card that explains how to use it. 

A park is a perfect location to exercise because children can play on nearby playground equipment while parents work out, she said. 

Menomonie parks director Gary Barnett bis hopeful that new outdoor fitness equipment atRiverside Park will help promote an active lifestyle.

“We hope it will help to promote fitness,” he said. “They can work out on their schedule.”

Tina Tharp, community wellness supervisor at the Menomonie Mayo location, said the outdoor fitness park is an effort to get people active in a scenic setting.

“This is a beautiful park next to the Red Cedar Trail,” she said. “It has good access for people to extend their exercise from using the trail.”

The exercise equipment will stay up all year, even during winter, and is expected to last for at least 30 years. It is made from materials similar to playground equipment.

Mike Bird, UW-Stout’s health, wellness and fitness program director, said the equipment is a good addition to the community.

“I think the location is ideal for students,” he said. “I know a number of students come down to use the trail system, especially on warm days.”

Thanks to another Mayo effort, Eau Claire soon will  be home to a similar exercise park. Installation of a setup has started at Owen Park and is expected to open late next month. The Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire Foundation gave a grant to the city for the project.

Contact: 715-556-9018, pamela.powers@ecpc.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter

Fitness Class

Rebecca Hayden, a fitness instructor with Mayo Clinic Health System-Red Cedar in Menomonie, is teaching an outdoor fitness class Thursdays through Oct. 22 at Menomonie’s Riverside Park, 792 Hudson Road.

The sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. and are free to the public. Call 715-838-3012 for more information.