Technology has proven to be a major motivator of fitness. New mobile apps provide incentives
to work out, inspire smart choices
, and, in one extreme case, threaten financial penalty
if users don't get moving. But a new trend has exercise enthusiasts (and their less enthusiastic counterparts) looking beyond the screen, as emergent adult playgrounds aim to inspire passersby to get fit by making it appear, well, fun.
It’s a given that exercise helps to improve senior citizens’ overall health, agility, and quality of life, and recent studies even suggest that certain workouts may stave off the onset of dementia
. But the prospect of working out on display in a bustling gym can intimidate people of a certain age, particularly those who are just beginning their fitness regimen. To lower this barrier to entry, London’s Royal Parks Association has installed Senior Playgrounds
at four city parks (including Hyde Park
, host venue to the Olympic triathalon
). These recreation areas feature six low-impact fitness machines, designed to improve core strength, flexibility, and balance in persons over sixty.
Imagine parents at a playground and you’re likely to picture a benched row of moms and dads, perched vigilant but immobile on the fringe of the fun. MOMentum
aims to make use of this down time by installing outdoor gyms at public playgrounds. At the non-profit’s two Washington state locations
, free-standing machines, including self-powered elliptical trainers, incline benches, and chin-up bars, face the adjacent playgrounds so that exercising parents can still supervise kids at play. As its name suggests, MOMentum targets women struggling to lose newfound baby weight, but we see no reason that the rising ranks
of stay-at-home dads can’t get in on the fun.
NYC Parks Adult Playgrounds:
With the exception of the nightclub-inspired “party workouts”
now popping up across NYC, daily exercise is a dry affair—and never less enticing than in the summer, when urbanites’ inner urges point them toward the park, not the gym. To make working out less of a drag, the NYC Parks department built an adult playground at Macombs Dam Park
in the Bronx, complete with 15 pieces of adult fitness equipment. Per the NYT
, the city now plans to build a second adult playground at John Jay Park
, which will boast updated amenities including exercise mats and, perhaps most importantly, a sign that reads “Adult Space;” i.e., no kids allowed.