George Bernard Shaw formerly said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
The recent fitness veer takes the sentiment to centre. Outdoor playgrounds for seniors are popping up across the country. Favourite in Europe, the facilities often feature low-impact effort paraphernalium aimed at promoting flexibility, counterbalance, and coordination. Senior performance spaces–most constructed over the last decade–can now be found in Miami, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Boston Seattle, Cedar Rapids, Oregon, New York City, and ratings of other communities across the country.
There several players in this growing insutry. Must Have Play, an Ithaca, New York-based firm, designs and structures playgrounds in conjunction with existing assisted-living facilities. KaBoom !, a nonprofit based in California and D.C ., has built more than 50 multigenerational playgrounds nationally, and Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, are stationed in Orange County, California, has built adult playgrounds in public openings around the country.
The fitness benefits of playgrounds are obvious. In fact, a Finnish analyse looking at 40 people ages 65 to 81 who had access to a elderly playground found that after three months of regular application, elderlies looked significant gains in equilibrium, acceleration and coordination–and had merriment doing it. “The given an opportunity to exercising, get stronger and aid delay the functions of the disadvantages that may come with age seems like a really positive idea all around, ” says Julie Schmidt, Ph.D ., deputy professor of sociology at Queens University in Charlotte, NC, who focuses on the aging issues.
But there are other good reasons to give them a try. Many are placed near parks or other public facilities to provide elderlies the chance to interact with others, thus countering the isolation numerous older people know. The playgrounds are often marketed as multigenerational, allowing young children the chance to attachment with their grandparents or other older adults.
“Studies looking at intergenerational curricula show that shared know-hows help both the young and the old-fashioned, ” Schmidt says. “Seniors get a chance to pass along the competences and prudence. Kids report positive sentiments of later life. These knows promote a sense of attachment and belonging.”
These playground benefits “check off a lot of the boxes that lead to better brain health, ” says Debra Raybold, brain-based life coach-and-four in South Bend, Indiana, and founder of That Essential Spark, a firm that helps people and companies refer neuroscience principles to life. “Being exposed to novel, dynamic know-hows is one of several ways to develop as much resilience as we can against dementia, ” she says.
At the new multigenerational playground at the Marion Diehl Senior Center in Charlotte, N.C ., neighborhood kids scramble onto a climbing wall and other colorful equipment, while a few feet away, older adults work out on outdoor versions of gym ellipticals, stationary bikes and fight machines.
Kids often stroll over to the adult paraphernalium to give it a try or strike up a conversation. “Do you want to be the pizza bringing person? ” a young girl questions a 60 -ish female, inviting her into her make-believe competition. Although the woman demurs, she leaves the playground with a smile on her face.
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