3 Reasons Your Community Needs a Playground for Older Adults

3 Reasons Your Community Needs a Playground for Older Adults

Adults often feel excluded from their communities as they age and become less able to participate in more strenuous activities. The CDC reports that a significant amount of older people, including one-third of adults aged 45 and older and one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older, experience feelings of loneliness, isolation and a lack of social connection in the U.S.

This isolation, combined with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, can lead to severe health conditions, including dementia, obesity and higher rates of depression and anxiety. All communities should encourage a healthy, active and social lifestyle for older adults as much as younger people. With adult playground equipment, older adults can benefit from physical activity while making new connections and interacting with others.

What Are Older Adult Playgrounds?

An older adult playground encompasses many of the same aspects of a traditional playground for children, but it caters to different needs and abilities. It can be challenging for many adults to stay active as they age due to issues such as arthritis, difficulty walking or balancing and feeling intimidated at gyms and recreational centers commonly used by younger people. Sometimes, older adults may not even realize how little they engage in physical exercise.

On an adult playground built for their specific needs, older adults can use exercise equipment that is easier on their joints and helps them target building strength, balance, endurance and flexibility. While these playgrounds may not include slides or jungle gyms, they can provide the same benefits of play for adults while motivating them to implement moderate exercise into their daily routine.

Why Your Community Should Have an Adult Playground

While playing and participating in physical exercise outdoors provides many of the same general benefits for all ages, engaging in fun activities on an adult playground can be particularly valuable for older adults. Here are the top three reasons your community needs a playground for older adults.

1. Exercise

Physical exercise can benefit anyone, but an adult playground and designated fitness equipment for older adults allow them to engage in milder and more moderate exercise, such as walking, strengthening their muscles and building core strength. Older adults who don’t get regular aerobic exercise may increase their risk of many different diseases and illnesses, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Cognitive decline

However, even older adults who struggle with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart health, osteoporosis or high blood pressure can still participate in reasonable amounts of physical activity. It can even help reduce pain and stiffness and improve overall brain function. Stretching, going for a brisk walk, performing body-weight exercises or even dancing are simple ways older adults can start incorporating exercise into their daily routine.

2. Socialization

As mentioned above, many older people tend to feel excluded from their communities if they can’t participate in activities due to mobility or health issues. However, adult playgrounds provide an excellent opportunity for older adults to socialize with others, meet new people and enjoy hobbies with those who share similar lifestyles and interests.

Playgrounds for older adults deliberately encourage social engagement and interaction.

Playgrounds for older adults deliberately encourage social engagement and interaction with walking paths, exercise equipment and open spaces for bird-watching and yoga. Older adults can also use the communal area around a playground to invite their friends and loved ones to play card games, ride bikes or enjoy a picnic on a sunny day.

Even going to the park alone can allow older adults to gain confidence in striking up conversations with new people as they use the equipment and get in their daily activity. Socialization and fitness go hand in hand. One study found that older adults who interacted with others outside their usual social circle had higher physical activity levels, enhanced moods and fewer negative feelings. In another study, researchers at Penn State concluded that older adults who socialized more significantly improved their cognitive performance.

3. Entertainment

When you think of an adult park or playground, you may consider the benefits of physical exercise. However, adult playgrounds also provide plenty of opportunities for older adults to engage in fun, creative workouts they may not have access to in their homes or local fitness centers. For instance, providing an outdoor exercise trail with various stations, such as Playworld’s Lifetrail® Outdoor Fitness Exercise Trail, allows people of all ability levels to challenge themselves and build their strength while trying new, exciting exercises.

These different stations, such as a weighted squat station or upper-body cycling station, can empower older adults to try exercising for longer periods every day or work up to a higher activity level within a week. These outdoor fitness trails can encourage them to set new goals and inspire others to do the same.

Older Adult Playground Equipment

Every adult playground will have different equipment, but you might see several exercise machines that provide light cardio workouts and mild strength training, such as elliptical machines and body-weight activities. Generally, older adult playgrounds will focus on improving balance and preserving muscle mass by encouraging older adults to use their arms and legs with easy-to-use pulldown machines or stair exercises.

You may also find sit-up machines, stationary bikes and many other pieces of fitness equipment that allow older adults to work on improving their range of motion and flexibility.

Playworld Equipment for Older Adults

At Playworld, we offer many different products and equipment for older adults to encourage them to get active and enjoy the outdoors with their friends and loved ones. In addition to our LifeTrail® stations and activity panels, older adults can also benefit from our ENERGI® Systems and Stretch & Go fitness solutions and wellness equipment. Some of our most popular products in these systems include:

No matter what type of outdoor fitness playground you want to create, we can help you promote active lifestyles and community wellness with our various products designed for older adults with accessibility and inclusion in mind.

Enhance Your Community With an Adult Playground.

Enhance Your Community With an Adult Playground

Every older adult deserves to feel valued and involved in their community, regardless of age or mobility restrictions. At Playworld, we can help you design and create an adult playground that empowers older adults in your local area to get their bodies moving and spend more time outdoors. Whether you want to add fitness equipment near an existing playground to make it compatible for all ages or design a completely new location, we are here for you throughout the entire process.

To learn more about how we can help you improve your community and make older adults feel included in the value of play, contact us today or request a quote online to get started.

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