Sunday, September 27, 2015

Childhood Memories and Fitness Collide In New Senior Playgrounds

Remember the days when your parents took you to a nearby playground and you could climb, slide, and run around for hours? 

What if you could still do that? Who said you have to be between the ages of 4 and 10 to enjoy the simple pleasure of a teeter totter or swing?  

Seniors use the equipment at a nearby playground.
A new trend that started in Japan has found its way into US cities. It’s called senior playgrounds. low-impact exercise equipment and machines intended to help promote balance, flexibility, and strength. Some of the featured equipment includes modified chin-up bars, steps and ramps, a low balance beam with railings, and more. Not only is it a great way to have some fun and exercise at the same time, but it also helps people gain better balance. Better balance = fewer falls.

Normally when you think of a playground, you think of children-sized equipment and things you can climb and crawl around on while scraping up your knees and elbows. This is different. The equipment used in these adult playgrounds include

These new playgrounds are being built by KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging balanced and active play, and Humana. Together they have built over 50 multi-generational playgrounds around the country and will continue to build more.
So why are these becoming so popular? 

"Play is a great connector for adults and seniors and the children in their lives. In addition to the cognitive and physical benefits of play, it can also reduce stress in adults and is proven to help combat toxic stress in kids," Sarah Pinsky, Director of Client Services for KaBOOM!, told Huffington Post.

Social isolation is a very real issue affecting seniors, which can lead to negative effects both mentally and physically. This combats that problem by getting people actively involved in social gatherings.  Communities are investing in these playgrounds as a way to in keeping people of all ages healthy. It's childhood memories combined with a gym and community center all in one.