Use smart phone to get fit in 4S Ranch Sports Park
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
If desiring a little free guidance in your exercise regime, head over to the 4S Ranch Sports Park to check out its new Quick Response (QR) Fit Trail.
The trail — one of five at county facilities — is part of a $20,000 pilot program being tested. It will officially be unveiled at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) during a grand kick-off ceremony and ribbon cutting. The public is welcome to attend, joining San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Roberts, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and County Parks and Recreation Department officials.
The ceremony will be held at 4S Ranch Sports Park, 16118 4S Ranch Parkway. Use the second parking lot, near the park’s entrance between the soccer and baseball fields, where the first of five trail signs is located.
Shannon Singler, a county parks spokeswoman, said to use the fitness trail one must have a smart phone — Apple, Android or Blackberry — or other Apple product such as an iPad, that has a QR Code Reader. When at the first trail sign, users can access the free app and then their device can download free videos at each trail sign that show exercises to perform at each of the five stations.
Each station will have four one-minute exercises focused on improving core body, flexibility, lower body and upper body. None require equipment since they utilize the individual’s body weight for resistance. The exercise videos will be changed periodically so users have variety, she said.
The half-mile loop can likely be completed by most within 30 minutes, a little faster if people run from point-to-point and longer if they walk. The trail is paved and the signs are near exercise pads so participants do not block the path of others while doing things such as sit-ups, push-ups, leg squats, jumping jacks and lunges, Singler said.
“It really varies,” she said, adding at least some exercises can be performed by those with limited mobility or in wheelchairs. An example is arm raises.
“If you are a beginner (the trail) is doable,” Singler said, adding it is geared toward those at beginner or intermediate fitness levels.
That is not to say hard-core athletes, such as those preparing for a triathlon, cannot benefit from the trail either, she said. But they would likely modify the recommended exercise so the activity provides them with a physical challenge.
Singler said the county is testing the fitness program at five facilities — 4S Ranch Sports Park, Guajome Regional Park near Vista, Hilton Head County Park near El Cajon, Sweetwater Regional County Park near Otay Valley and San Ysidro, and the County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa. The latter is available to the 3,000 county employees in various departments based at the facility.
She said parks and recreation officials learned of the QR Fit Trail through a recreation magazine. It was developed by two teachers in the Washington, D.C., area, one focused on physical fitness, the other on technology. On the East Coast she said the program has been widely successful.
The program appealed to county officials because it goes with two goals — promoting physical fitness and being “ahead of the technological curve,” she said. “We also want more people to visit (county) parks and this is a great way to satisfy all of those goals.”
County officials will be able to monitor the number of times the program is accessed. With that data, they will decide if the program should be expanded to other county parks or if the pilot trails should be relocated to other facilities.
Singler said she is confident the 4S Ranch trail will be popular due to the community’s demographics and park’s usage.
“It’s a really popular park and very heavily populated, so it is the ideal community because it has a lot of traffic,” she said. With the high usage of the 4S Ranch Sports Park’s other amenities, she said officials determined a fitness trail is something locals would enjoy.
For other fitness and recreation offerings at 4S Ranch and other county facilities, see the activities and program guide at www.sdparks.org.
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