HCSC teams with National Fitness Campaign to build community fitness sites in Texas, Illinois

Health Care Service Corporation is teaming up with the National Fitness Campaign to open outdoor fitness centers in Illinois and Texas.

The insurer will invest $850,000 to open 35 Fitness Courts across both states, according to an announcement. Construction is set to begin this summer, with the goal of opening the first locations in the fall. 

The aim of the program is to ease barriers to accessing exercise and physical fitness while also improving the mental and physical well-being of members, said Monica Berner, M.D., chief clinical officer of HCSC, in an interview with Fierce Healthcare.

"Good health starts at home and within our communities; it doesn't start in a doctor's office or with a call from a health insurance company," Berner said. "Having access to these outdoor gyms is really going to be key to helping people begin to help themselves."

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The Fitness Courts are built to offer seven-minute bodyweight workouts for people of all ages and ability levels. The National Fitness Campaign will also collaborate with partners to host in-person classes as well as to provide free digital options available via an app.

The locations are built in public areas where it's easy for local residents to access them, according to the announcement.

Berner said users can connect to the app to track their progress as well, such as monitoring the number of push-ups or sit-ups conducted at the Fitness Court.

“The National Fitness Campaign is proud to welcome HCSC as a collaborator across two states,” said Mitch Menaged, founder of the National Fitness Campaign. “This program will deliver tremendous resources to contribute to the important mission of improving health outcomes as the network of hundreds of Fitness Courts grows across multiple states."