Playgrounds aren’t just for kids. An emerging trend of playgrounds for seniors is transforming the way communities think about adult well-being and public space. These playgrounds make remarkable strides to welcome older adults into what is generally considered the domain of youngsters, and engage them in outdoor physical fitness in the commons, which, by their nature, belong to everyone.
As Mental Floss reports, these playgrounds feature “low-impact exercise equipment such as elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and hand-eye dexterity games. The activities are meant to improve balance and flexibility, and while you won’t find twisting slides or monkey bars at these playgrounds, they do sometimes include modified classics like swings and see-saws.” They may also have walking paths, horseshoe pits, and shaded areas to sit and relax.
Photo: Senior Planet
Senior playgrounds are not new—China installed them two decades ago following a state-mandated fitness program. Since then, the idea has since spread to England, Japan, Finland, Germany, Canada and Spain. In Barcelona alone, there are more than 300 senior playground.
Adult playgrounds are, however, fairly new in the States. But cities, including New York, San Antonio, and Miami, are jumping on-board. Companies, including KaBOOM! and Must Have Play, cater to the new trend, building custom exercise and playground equipment for adults.
Photo: Public Radio International
In addition to providing infrastructure for fitness and wellness, these playgrounds also serve a social function, bringing people together in shared space.
“Like any playground,” reports Senior Planet, “those built for senior or multigenerational use also serve as social hubs. Face-to-face and multi-user equipment makes them great places to meet people and make friends locally, and once you’ve connected, you’re likely to show up tomorrow to meet again.”
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