View Full Version : Anyone build a Fitness Trail"

02-26-2006, 10:03 AM
This is the time of year when I begin to really plan out our spring/summer projects. The lovely Mrs_B has requested one project be moved to the top of the priority pile.

She wants me to build a "Fitness Trail" on our property. Her logic is that our family is mildly out of shape and we could use the activity, it would not only be good for us, but would be fun to build (her logic) and fun to use as a family activity.

As we have a reasonable amount of property, and we have varied terrain from flat land to modest to steep inclines, it would be easy to vary a course, and I suppose make it interesting and challenging.

But has anyone actually built one? Or does anyone actually visit them & use them?
I'd need ideas for the workout stations.

Ballet bar station for stretching?
Balance beam?
Overhead ladder?
Parallel bars?
Pull Up bar?
Platforms for sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc?
Stairs? (could this be more of a hazard than a help?)
Other station ideas?
Any idea how long the distances should be between the stations? 50' or 100' or should it be farther? Or should it be mixed up with some close together and some far apart?

I'm open to all sorts of suggestions on

how to build the workout stations?
should the path between them be tilled and graded to smooth it out, or should it be graveled for running or perhaps paved (with PolyPavement (http://www.polypavement.com/index.htm))?
how many workout stations 10, 15, 20?
what are appropriate activities at stations?
HELP!!! Thoughts!!! Suggestions???

02-26-2006, 11:25 AM
Hi Bob,

Avoid a running surface that is too hard (no poly pavement). Go with a flat smooth trail with fine bark dust or small gravel/sand mix. Your old joints will thank you for it.

The rest is all up to what you think you will actually use. How old are your kids? will they actually use it? If it's just for you and your wife then just go for the jogging trail.

You could set up useful stations:

Log splitting, loading wood into trailer, shovelling dirt, trench digging, weed hoeing.


Big Dog
02-26-2006, 11:32 AM
Hire loggers in to do a select cut.................:yum:

I did but I use ATV's on them.................:D

02-26-2006, 11:41 AM
Good idea Bob. I have trails I've used for walking & jogging. I've ATV'd the trails so much that I have worn groove where the tires are, and grass grows in the middle of it. I have a few miles of trails and gravel is not in the budget for all of it. I'm adding gravel to the hiller areas to slow down errosion and help with traction.

I could box blade the other parts of the trails, but the trail is even worse for walking and running after box blading. So, I'll be watching this thread for ideas on how to prepare / finish your trail.

I had not even thought of work out stations, but that is a great idea. Normally I carry a shovel, ax or chainsaw and do trail maintenence or timber control while I'm out. The wife would like the idea of workout areas I'm sure.

02-26-2006, 12:20 PM
Here is what we came up with so far.

Balance beam -constructed of 3 sections of 16' long 4x4 PT lumber, arranged in at right angles to roughly form a Z pattern
Parallel bars - set at 4' off the ground, about 8' long, probably using 2.5" heavy wall galvanized pipe for the bars.
Overhead ladder, probably 7' off the ground, 12' long
Stair Climb? Probably 5 trends up & down? Several reps up & down? Concerned this could be a dangerous station, due to slipping?
Sit ups
Jumping Jacks
Stretching with a ballet bar

all 3 of these would share one small deck, probably 6' by 16' with a ballet bar along one of the long sides? Probably with a rubber mat covering the surface?

Rope Climb -about 12' tall
Pull Up bar - this could be attached to the side of the Rope Climb frame.
Tire Run - 10 old tires you jog through
That is a 10 station set up. I would probably start it at the top of the ridge, work down through the woods to the valley and finish at the bottom so the cool down would include walking back up the ridge to the house?

02-27-2006, 07:31 AM
Overhead ladder, probably 7' off the ground, 12' long

I need to ponder the rest but 7' seems too low. Anyone over 5'6" will be dragging their feet.

02-27-2006, 07:57 AM
I need to ponder the rest but 7' seems too low. Anyone over 5'6" will be dragging their feet.


02-28-2006, 03:49 PM
I've decided to eliminate the "Stair Climb" out of fear that it could lead to more injuries than it would be worth. In place of that station I think I'll add an incline board station.

Overall the course will wind around out property, and I'd like to have a 1/2 mile or so of a course. I could probably stretch that out some if it would fit better over a wider area. I'm bringing in a large excavator to do some work along the river out back, that will also allow me to cut another nice winding path (or two) through the woods. The paths will serve double duty, both for the exercise/fitness trail and as tractor/snow trac paths.

Any other suggestions?

02-28-2006, 04:44 PM

Glad you bumped the thread as I wanted to mention a couple thoughts but had forgotten to post.

You mentioned "interesting and challenging" so a couple of my points will suggest that you make it a bit harder.

Do a little investigating on the parallel bars. I don't recall the distance between them but do recall that if it's not pretty close to that width, they're no good.

I would make the overhead ladder longer if possible.

For the floor mat at the one station, are you going to use the 4x6' horse stall mats? If possible, I would put a slight pitch or crown on the floor to take care of rain. I would also propose that this station is in a shady area but not directly under a tree. The mat would be hot if in direct sun, dirty if under a tree. Don't forget a bar or something to lock your legs down at the sit-up station. With this bar, you could then turn yourself around and hang onto it with your hands and do leg-lifts.

I wouldn't put the pull-up bar at the rope climb station. I would stagger these activities to give your arms a rest. Consider the same for legs and such as well. On the pull-up bar, don't forget a step on one of the uprights so the shorter people can hoist themselves up.

For the rope climb, do you have a tree that you can use a limb? I would go up 20-30' myself. (12' isn't much if your arms are starting at 7'...)

If you're not going to do the stairs, maybe put a single step some place and people can step up & down several times.

Consider setting up some isometric exercises.

Keep a chart for each person. On this, record:
Person's weight
Elapsed time
# of repetitions
elapsed time
With this, you can track progress.

03-07-2006, 05:20 PM
Well I am still looking at this project and recently recieved a proposal for a professional built Fitness Trail, worthy of installation in a public park with commercial grade materials. $4995 + installation for a 10 station fitness trail. $7995 for a 20 station fitness trail. It included all the stations, instructional signs at each station, even included trail markes/directional arrows to direct you to the various stations.

Seems pretty excessive to me for my use.

However, they were kind enough to leave me a brochure, the brochure included a small but readable image of each of the fitness trail station signs, and images of many of the stations.

I believe I can build a reasonable fitness trail, using some pretty good materials, for probably $1000 or so. The signs will be the hard part, but then again, I'm not sure that they are needed in our case?

But . . . in your opinion, what types of stations would you find the most enjoyable? I don't want to make this a torture trail.

03-08-2006, 07:03 AM
I don't mean to throw your thread off track, but I thought you already came up with some good work out station ideas. I'm not sure any of us would call them 'fun' though.

But, I'm more interested in what, if anything, you'll do to the trail. Maybe you have a nice grass path already groomed and ready to go. I"m dealing with a clay path, with two distinct ruts from ATV tires. Weeds grow in the middle between the tires. I'd like to box blade the trail, and mix something with the clay to make it set up better for a walking trail ....but I'm at a loss of what would work. Putting gravel over the part I want to use for a walking trail would be my last resort due to cost. But, being realistic, buying a few truckloads of sand and whatever else to mix with the clay would also cost. I'm looking for the most economical way to make about 1/2 mile of my trails into a comfortable walking trail. But I do not have a clue as to the best way to do this.

03-08-2006, 08:02 AM
But, I'm more interested in what, if anything, you'll do to the trail. Maybe you have a nice grass path already groomed and ready to go. I"m dealing with a clay path, with two distinct ruts from ATV tires.

Doc, take a look at this: http://www.polypavement.com/index.htm

I don't run ATVs so I don't have the rut issue in the paths. But I am thinking of using Polypavement. Basically you need to kill the grass/weeds and get rid of the vegitatioin, till and roll the soil, then spray down Polypavement and you have a path that is about as durable as asphalt. If you till it into the soil and mix it deeper to a higher concentration, you can actually use it for a driveway, parking lot or airstrip (at least that is the claim). I did a lot of reasearch on in about 18 months ago and hoped to use it last year but got side tracked by a dozen other projects. There are different brands out there, some a good for clay soil, some for rocky soil, some for loam, so you need to find the brand/type that works with the soil conditions you are dealing with. But it is a do-it-yourself project if you have a tractor, tiller & sprayer.

03-08-2006, 08:08 AM
Sounds good Bob. Now I have a good reason to add a tiller to my 3ph implements. :thumb: