parkdale fitplay

This outdoor fitness game in Toronto gets people out of their apartments

A new fitness game aims to get people healthy and having fun in Toronto parks in a safe, socially distant way.

Parkdale FitPlay, sponsored by the Parkdale Village BIA, started Jan. 27 and runs throughout February. It's a way to stay active and connect with local health and fitness leaders from Parkdale's diverse Black/BIPOC communities, said Debbie King, a fitness leader and athlete who came up with the idea for the event.

"It came out of the idea of how do we keep people moving in a time when we know it's darker, it's colder, it's just harder to get that motivation," King told blogTO.

With lockdown restrictions, people can't get to the places they would normally go like a community gym or fitness centre.

The concept is simple. King developed an alphabet key and beside each letter, there is an exercise.

"The idea is you use your name or a short word as your prompt and then you are performing each of the exercises associated with those letters."

The word can create a small circuit. The alphabet key is printed on posters around the neighbourhood and is on the Facebook page and Instagram page. There is a list of seven possible parks people can go to for their fitness break.

"We are encouraging people to get outside and [get] fresh air, using the parks that we have designated," said King.

Getting outside and a change of scenery is motivating, but if people prefer, they can do the workouts at home.

There are videos online from the five Parkdale fitness leaders that people can access for fitness advice and ideas.

"All the fitness leaders are Black because there was always this underlying objective as well just to put more of our Black community leaders at the forefront," King said.

King also wanted to create a connection for the Black community in Parkdale.

"We also know that Black communities and families are being affected disproportionately and health, wellness and well-being are all critical at this time," King said.

It may help people to have a face they can identify with for motivation.

"I am happy to create that connection."

Parkdale FitPlay is free and people can do it anytime and anywhere.

More than 200 people have joined the Instagram page so far, and the program has also been distributed through schools and shared by Parkdale politicians.

Lead photo by

Parkdale FitPlay

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