The Sterling Heights Senior Center opened its 50+ Outdoor Fitness Park to the public in July.

The Sterling Heights Senior Center opened its 50+ Outdoor Fitness Park to the public in July.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Outdoor senior center gym opens

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 4, 2023

 The Rev. Cheryl Myhand uses the  butterfly and reverse fly machine.

The Rev. Cheryl Myhand uses the butterfly and reverse fly machine.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Senior Center has a brand new spot for seniors who want to work out among their peers.

In July, city officials cut the ribbon on the 50+ Outdoor Fitness Park, which is located on the senior center campus.

Kristen Briggs, the parks and recreation supervisor in charge of 50+ programming, explained how the gym can improve seniors’ physical conditioning three seasons of the year. She said the fitness park opened to the public July 18, and she explained that it has been pretty busy during the first few days it has been open.

She said that, while the senior center patrons have had access to an indoor cardio room, it had to temporarily close during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an outdoor fitness park gives patrons more options and the city more flexibility.

“Outdoors, it gives you the fresh air. You have the vitamin D from the sunshine,” she said.

“If and when another pandemic happens, we’d still be able to provide a way for our patrons to stay healthy outside. They’ll be able to stay 6 feet apart. We have the UV lighting along with the rain. You’d still be able to have fitness outside.”

The al fresco amenity contains nine exercise machines for cardio or strength training. Officials said wheelchair users can take advantage of five of the machines’ accessibility.

“We wanted to have a variety of not only cardio, but strength-training machines,” she added.

She said the available equipment includes a rowing machine, an elliptical machine, weight machines and a recumbent exercise bike. Another machine lets users do a skiing motion, she added.

According to Briggs, a Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act program entirely funded the gym’s $230,000 cost.

Kyle Langlois, Sterling Heights’ parks and recreation director, characterized the new gym as a way to help the 50-and-up population continue to stay strong. He said the grant came into the city’s purview as it continues to look at what resources are out there.

“As always, our goal is to look at opportunities that are out there and resources that are out there and leverage those resources,” Langlois said.

In a statement, Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said the new outdoor fitness area is an example of the Parks and Recreation Department taking advantage of its assets to motivate people to become happier and healthier.

“The city of Sterling Heights is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals within our community at every age,” he added.

Using the outdoor gym requires being a senior center member, and membership annually costs $16 for city residents and $32 for nonresidents — all of whom must be 50 or older.

The Sterling Heights Senior Center is located at 40200 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. Learn more about the Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department by visiting