Canowindra Fitness Path
(Left) Canowindra Fitness Path. (Right) “Don’t be a witness, get into fitness!” A public competition engaged the community and resulted in an excellent graphic logo and tag line for the Canowindra Fitness Path.
Canowindra Fitness Path – creating a culture of exercise
The Canowindra Fitness Path, a 2.5m wide, 710m long walking / jogging / scootering / cycling path (roller skaters have also been spotted), that winds serpentine-like around the Canowindra sports ground, is the legacy of inspired local health professionals and a supportive, engaged community.
The Fitness Path is actually the end of the story, not the beginning. It evolved from the Canowindra Boot Camp and Better Life fitness programs that started back in 2005.
“One of our goals was to develop a ‘culture of exercise’ within the community and we felt like we really started to do that by the end of Better Life,” recalls Canowindra Health Service dietician Julie Middleton.
While hugely successful, Better Life (a twelve week health and fitness program) was time consuming and exhausting for the Canowindra Health Service team who ran the program.
“We needed to do something that was sustainable and allowed the community access to exercise easily. That’s when we came up with the idea of the Fitness Path.”
Designed by local landscape designer, Sally Bourne, the Canowindra Fitness Path includes extensive landscaping with water wise native plants, grasses and locally sourced boulders. Four exercise sites along the path will feature permanent outdoor exercise equipment, including an impressive “King Kong” climbing frame, especially designed for upper body work-outs.
Like most community projects, the Canowindra Fitness Path is a work in progress. A volunteer working party includes committee members from across the community – local business people, school representatives and Health Service professionals. Stage One, the 710 metre long bitumen path, was completed in 2013 and embraced by the community immediately. Landscaping and exercise equipment will be installed as funds allow over the next few years.
“It is a great small town project and it could be easily modified to work in larger communities,” says Julie. “The Fitness Path is something that will be there for every-one of every age. Even older people now have a flat surface to walk and somewhere to take their grandkids to ride their bikes. That’s what I just love seeing – these little kids on bikes. It’s such a safe place for them.”
For Julie, the Fitness Path is a powerful legacy. “There will be people using it in ten years that will have no idea about how it originated but it will be a lovely resource for the town and I hope it will be something Canowindra will be really proud about.”