Are You Still Young at Heart? By Robin Trimingham

Are You Still Young at Heart? By Robin Trimingham

When I was young I used to beg my mother to take me to the neighbourhood park to play on the swings. To me, there was nothing better than the heart pounding exhilaration of being pushed higher and higher into the sky and then vaulting myself into space before landing in the soft sand below.

For an extra rush, I would occasionally convince her to drive me to another park about five minutes further away where the swing set was even larger and leaping from the seat required actual courage because the landing area was composed of wood chips which scattered beneath me as I touched down resulting in more than one scraped knee before I got the hang of it.

Fun times indeed.

Like most adults, I thought those days were long behind me until a doctor friend of mine happened to mention that several large urban centers around the world are starting to install purpose built outdoor gyms and play areas for the elderly to inspire fitness and wellbeing.

These senior playgrounds are equally popular in London, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Barcelona (where there are over 300 of these special parks) and Beijing proving that regardless of your cultural heritage or upbringing, you are never too old to play. Still other communities are introducing multi-generational playgrounds so that grandparents and grandchildren can exercise together to improve core strength, flexibility, and balance.

The slides are gone, but purpose built low impact exercise equipment is being introduced to encourage gentle exercise of the hips, legs, and torso, as well as some much-needed socialization and a good laugh.

Remember how easy it was to strike up a conversation with a strange kid on the jungle gym? Names were on a need to know basis provided the line at the base of the slide kept moving.

Apparently, the rules of engagement haven’t changed a bit, enabling seniors who are isolated at home and would normally never strike up a conversation with a stranger at the mall or on a public bus, to use the opportunity to be silly together dust off their social skills.

As aging populations swell in densely populated areas, an increasing number of urban planners are investigating this popular concept because alert and healthy seniors have better balance, fewer falls and ultimately less expensive healthcare claims.

To learn more about introducing a senior-friendly play area to your community check out AAA State of Play.

By Robin Trimingham

6 responses to “Are You Still Young at Heart? By Robin Trimingham

  1. Reblogged this on Second Wind Leisure Perspectives and commented:
    My Auntie passed away in her sleep a few days ago. She lived a long life well into her 80s. As our population ages, and people live much longer, we all need to consider the quality of life we will have into our 80s and beyond.

    This article describes the benefits of fitness for the elderly (which, by the way, will be US in fewer years than we want to admit!). The USA is sadly FAR behind the rest of the world, offering little in the way of walkable communities and fitness and wellness opportunities for older populations.
    “…several large urban centers around the world are starting to install purpose built outdoor gyms and play areas for the elderly to inspire fitness and wellbeing.”

    My father will celebrate his 81st birthday in mid-July. He keeps fit by taking care of his horses in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This is a photo of him hiking around Mammoth Lakes last year.

    If you have parents still alive, do you see to their care and fitness needs? Hopefully you can still encourage them to at least walk if they are able.

    And while you are at it, work on your own fitness regimen. It’s easier than you think. More about that later.

    You are never too old to play.

  2. Pingback: A New Perspective on Aging by Robin Trimingham | Olderhood.com·

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