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ETSU Health uses grant to build fitness stations along Greenbelt

Contributed • Jun 19, 2020 at 5:15 PM

KINGSPORT — An idea that began in March with the COVID-19 quarantine has evolved into a series of workout videos and a new outdoor fitness park that will open later this summer along the Greenbelt at Riverwalk Park in Kingsport.

Dr. Tyler Schmitz, a resident physician with ETSU Health Family Medicine Kingsport, received a Local Humanitarian Grant from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine to fund his Quarantine Fitness Project.

“As official quarantine and stay-at-home orders were placed with gyms and restaurants closed, I knew we were in unprecedented times that needed creative solutions for health and wellness,” Schmitz said. “I have always been a strong supporter of exercise and physical activity because of its physical and mental health benefits. This is why I came up with my Quarantine Fitness Project proposal to install outdoor exercise equipment along the Kingsport Greenbelt and create free follow-along-at-home workout videos for the community.”

His goal was to provide an accessible outlet for fitness during the current pandemic and going forward.

The resulting fitness park, which will officially open to the public in mid- to late-July, overlooks the Holston River and consists of six fitness stations — three funded by the AMSSM grant and installed by ETSU Health, and three funded by Kingsport Parks & Recreation. The fitness park also includes a bicycle tire pump, bicycle maintenance station, water fountain, multiple picnic tables and a gazebo.

The city has ordered ground covering and borders to install around the equipment for safety and will announce its opening later this summer, said Kingsport Parks & Recreation Manager Kitty Frazier.

Additionally, the home fitness videos produced by Schmitz and his colleagues are available on YouTube. There are five advanced/intermediate videos and three beginner videos. Each video is approximately 15 minutes long.

While Schmitz will complete his residency at ETSU Health Family Medicine Kingsport this summer and move to Jacksonville, Florida, to begin a sports medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic, he is excited leave behind a permanent fitness fixture in the Kingsport community.

“I hope that people in the community, especially those most affected by the pandemic, can reap the physical and psychological benefits of exercise to make these difficult times more manageable,” Schmitz said. “Additionally, I would like this project to be one of many steps in tackling our obesity epidemic.”

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