• Drew Darcy

MAKA'EO: Becoming Kona's Extensive Outdoor Fitness Venue

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

Aloha Kona,


Friends For Fitness has developed fitness-focused proposals in hopes to transform Maka'eo into Kona's outdoor fitness venue. Deriving inspiration from the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area proposed Master Plan of 2011, we aim to procure the endorsement and sponsorship of local businesses, organizations, grants and donations, and the public in fulfilling a common goal for healthy and active lifestyles of the Kona Community.


Friends For Fitness is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization run by volunteers and members of our community. Volunteers have dedicated many hours planning positive changes, some of which are currently happening at the Maka'eo Walking Path. Friends For Fitness has developed ambitious goals for the upcoming year and hope to entice the public to find beauty, comfort, community passion and inspiration at our local walking path.


There are many benefits to exercising outdoors at Maka'eo and they begin with the path. The pathway consists of two paved asphalt loops (0.3 miles and 0.7 miles) that create a 1-mile walking and running path. At the path's main entrance you'll find a small exercise pavilion, the small loop lawn, and the Maka'eo bulletin board showcase. The showcase is updated monthly with health awareness information, path events, and fun facts. The small exercise pavilion offers a stretching post, parallel bars, and pull-up bars.

At the north end of the path is the large lawn that hosts weekly physical activities like Karate and Tai Chi lessons. On the south end of the path next to the Kailua Kona Skate Park is a large succulent garden. As you make your way around the path you'll find a couple of anchialine ponds amongst the pathway's colorful gardens that are cared for by 47 garden adoptees and a total of 71 volunteers. Gardening is a moderate-intensity level activity similar to brisk walking, vacuuming, or light jogging. Many diligent volunteers searching for outdoor exercise have joined Friends For Fitness this year, but some volunteers have been involved with Friends For Fitness for over 23 years as a way to stay healthy and be active in the community.


The Maka'eo Walking Path has a lot to offer for fitness options. Friends For Fitness mission is to "decrease the prevalence of the sedentary lifestyle and to improve the health of Hawaii residents. Our mission is to create a diverse, user-friendly, beautiful recreation area at the Maka'eo Walking Path that promotes healthy lifestyles through community participation and collaboration."


In pursuing our mission, Friends For Fitness is proposing the installation of a Maka'eo Fitness Trail consisting of 10 exercise stations that will exist in conjunction with the proposal of the Maka'eo Creative Arts Garden.

 

MAKA'EO FITNESS TRAIL (10 exercise stations)

A fitness trail is comprised of a path or trail with outdoor exercise obstacles and/or equipment stations where a path user can perform specific exercises. Trails like these can be natural, man-made, or a combination of the two.

The purpose of a fitness trail is to provide an active exercise area so people can improve components of fitness such as balance, coordination, and strength. Each fitness station has a placard providing basic and simple instructions on how to perform the specific exercise. The stations can focus specifically on the upper extremities, lower extremities, core, or total-body workouts. Fitness Trails can be built suitable for all levels of fitness clients, including adults and children, and will be ADA accessible.


A fitness trail is a fun and easy way to get active and stay fit while focusing mostly on calisthenics and isometric exercises.


A Fitness Trail:

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Increases muscular endurance, speed, and power.

  • Increases flexibility and range of motion.

  • Is free to use

  • Is available to everyone

  • Promotes friendships and social lifestyles

  • Improves cognition

  • Is Eco-friendly

  • Provides an outdoor space for local organizations to train

  • Can help deter unfavorable park use

  • Provides a full-body workout at the Maka'eo Walking & Jogging Path

If you are interested in using a Fitness Trail as part of your everyday work out, or would like to sponsor or endorse the Maka'eo Fitness Trail, please fill out our quick survey to support this proposal! Select the link below for more info. Projects | Friends For Fitness

 

MAKA'EO CREATIVE ARTS GARDEN

The Creative Arts Garden will feature sculptures and artwork created by local Big Island artists while providing a work space for artists of all types to draw, paint, sculpt and be cognitively creative in an outdoor environment.


Creativity is directly related to brain activity and has many positive benefits relating to our overall health.

"There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that proves art enhances brain function. It has an impact on brain wave patterns and emotions, the nervous system, and can actually raise serotonin levels. Art can change a person’s outlook and the way they experience the world."(1)

A health benefit of art is that it encourages creative thinking and imagination in kids and adults. It also enhances problem-solving skills. Because there is no wrong answer in art, people are encouraged to imagine their own solution, and are more daring with new ways of thinking. This type of flexible thinking stimulates your brain and prepares it for complicated functions in the same ways that learning a new language does.


Benefits of a Creative Art Garden:

  • Relieves stress and depression

  • Increases and renews brain function

  • Can help prevent and ease Dementia & Alzheimer’s by increasing cognition

  • Improves mood

  • Cultivates a social lifestyle

  • Encourages creative thinking

  • Sparks the imagination

  • Enhances problem solving skills

  • Creates a mental flow of focus

  • Provides a sense of accomplishment

  • Uses hand and mind coordination

If you are interested in utilizing the Maka'eo Creative Arts Garden, or would like to sponsor or endorse the Creative Arts Garden, please fill out our quick survey to support this proposal! Select the link below for more info. Projects | Friends For Fitness

 

PROPOSED LOCATION

The proposed location for these developments are the interior of the 0.3 mile small loop path. Much of the small loop interior is undeveloped and difficult to cultivate. This area has gone unattended for over 15 years and has great potential in providing Kona with safe, close to town, and free-to-use exercise opportunities.

 

CONCLUSION

Friends For Fitness mission is to "decrease the prevalence of the sedentary lifestyle and to improve the health of Hawaii residents. Our mission is to create a diverse, user-friendly, beautiful recreation area at the Maka'eo Walking Path that promotes healthy lifestyles through community participation and collaboration." Please consider our proposals and visit the Maka'eo Walking Path in person to gain a new perspective on obtaining a healthy and active lifestyle.


- See you around the path.


(1) Art Enhances Brain Function and Well-Being (healing-power-of-art.org)






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