Playgrounds are not exclusively for kids anymore and are becoming increasingly popular because the concept has been revolutionized to cater to senior citizens. From my knowledge the emerging trend first appeared in the UK as community project in Manchester. The whole idea of a seniors’ playground is absolutely brilliant! Not only is the community brought together, older people, specifically those 60 years old and above, are encouraged to exercise and meet with their peers. In fact, a research conducted at the University of Lapland, Finland reveals that older people who go to playgrounds build muscle, reduce fat, and improve their coordination, speed, and balance. Having fun is the objective. The whole idea is to keep the equipment simple and gentle.
There is a difference between a playground for kids and that for seniors. The equipment installed is designed to exercise a part of the body. An example is the skate machine, which trains leg muscles and strengthens hip muscles. There is also equipment for static-cycling. The machines are user-friendly and offer little chances for injury. Some pieces of equipment are accessible to wheelchair users. Seniors’ playgrounds are designed to be safe for older people. These playgrounds utilize a special rubber mulch not only to pad rough edges, but also to provide cushions on the floor.
Gordon Lishman, director general of the charity Age Concern, said the playground could help older people maintain good physical and mental health. He said: “A well-designed fitness park could be a great way to encourage older people to exercise and socialize. “Exercising a few times a week can make a big difference to someone’s health and doesn’t have to be strenuous. “Equally, socializing with others can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression. “Many older people aren’t exercising enough and we are really keen for local authorities to offer a range of accessible and affordable facilities that promote physical activity in later life.” Maybe just maybe exercising will be as fun as it was when we were children!