Who says kids get to have all the fun? Playing outdoors can and should be for all ages, especially the elderly who need to keep fit and active.
All too often, however, a grandparent will take their grandchild to a playground and sit quietly on the sidelines, never gaining the benefits of physical activity. Shouldn’t there be a space where even the more mature among us can frolic and play, or at the very least burn calories and get their heart rates up?
As luck will have it, “senior playgrounds” are popping up in the U.S. in recent years, and are especially popular in Europe and Asia.
Mother Nature Network reports,
In the U.S., the nonprofit organization KaBOOM! has been working in partnership with the Humana Foundation to build multigenerational playgrounds throughout the country. KaBOOM! has already built 53 multigenerational playgrounds across America in cities such as Cleveland, Tampa and Orlando.”
Multigenerational playgrounds can be equipped with elliptical machines, body flexors, and unusual stationary bikes designed to promote balance, strength, and flexibility. Seniors that might otherwise feel isolated are now meeting new friends while at the same time taking care of their health.
Foreign cities such as Barcelona, which boasts a whopping 300 senior parks, view their investment in multigenerational playgrounds as an investment in the health of their aging population.
According to an article in the Huffington Post,
Analysts estimate that 40 percent to 45 percent of the population in Spain will be retirees by 2050. Spending money on parks to keep that population alert and healthy, the thinking goes, could save a lot in expensive health care costs.”
With 71.4 million people age 65 or older in 2029, the U.S. would be wise to follow in Spain’s footsteps.
Image via Flickr
Just How Many Babyboomers are there? Via prb.org
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