SHANGHAI is filled with high-rises and crowded with autos, making green parks precious and outdoor recreation space rare.
Community parks have limited fitness equipment and space for organized sports activities.
However, sports parks provide a variety of pitches, courts and facilities for a range of people looking for a workout, including ordinary exercisers, badminton players, basketball and football players, swimmers, skate boarders and extreme sports enthusiasts. Shanghai Daily recommends three of them.
Minhang Sports Park
This 84-hectare sports park used to be a dumping ground for construction debris until it was turned into a sports area and opened in early 2004.
Around 20 kilometers from downtown, it contains a stadium with basketball, tennis and badminton courts, a football field, swimming pools, a bowling alley, billiards room and facilities for various other sports and leisure activities.
Pitches or fields can be booked in advance. Most courts charge by the hour.
There's plenty of landscaping and lawns where visitors can stroll, fly kites or play outdoor games. It contains a lake where people can rent rowboats and forest paths for walking and jogging.
The park contains a 300-meter-long artificial track for runners. Bicycles can be rented, including bicycles built for two.
General admission is free. Visitors pay for activities.
Transportation: Take Metro Line 1, get off at Xinzhuang Station and take Bus No. 763.
Yuanshen SportsPark Center
The highlights of this sports center in the Pudong New Area are the courts for basketball and fields for football. It gets lively at night as men get off work and assemble for pickup basketball.
Many professionals like the venue because they get off work late and the sports center is well lighted. It contains professional courts for indoor and outdoor basketball, badminton, tennis and table tennis, all charged by the hour.
The park has hosted many major sports events, such as the national track and field championship and national college fencing tournament.
Admission is free. Visitors pay for use of facilities.
Address: 655 Yuanshen Rd
Opening hours: 8am-10pm
Transportation: Take Metro Line 6 to Yuanshen Stadium Station.
SMP Skate Park
One of the world's biggest skate parks, the SMP Skate Park covers 1.2 hectares in Yangpu District in northeast Shanghai. It's also one of the world's largest extreme sports facilities.
The park has facilities for beginners as well as world-class athletes.
Every year it hosts international skateboard and extreme sports competitions.
Many children and young people visit the park on weekends. Roller skates and BMX bikes are available at the park, which has a 42-meter-long, 6-meter-high U-shaped half-pipe.
Regular players can buy annual memberships.
Address: 2100 Songhu Rd
Opening hours: 9am-6pm
Admission: 50 yuan
Transportation: Take Metro Line 10, get off at New Jiangwan Town and take a shuttle bus.