CLOSE
Getty
Getty

Playgrounds for Seniors Are Gaining Popularity in America

Getty
Getty

Overseas, it’s not uncommon to find senior citizens pedaling, swinging, and climbing on playground equipment designed especially for them. The first adults-only playgrounds began appearing in China a few decades ago. They’ve since caught on throughout Asia and Europe, and now they’re starting to gain popularity here in the U.S.

Companies like KaBOOM! and Must Have Play are working to make a new type of playground available to the nation's older population. The parks feature low-impact exercise equipment such as elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and hand-eye dexterity games. The activities are meant to improve balance and flexibility, and while you won’t find twisting slides or monkey bars at these playgrounds, they do sometimes include modified classics like swings and see-saws.

In addition to promoting physical health, the parks provide mental and social benefits to visitors. The senior playgrounds can serve as social gathering spaces within the community and help to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness among older generations. 

Unlike similar spaces abroad, companies like KaBOOM! are branding their parks as “multigenerational” playgrounds meant to be used by people of all ages. These projects have caught on within the senior community in particular—after building a site in Cleveland, a representative from KaBOOM! told the Huffington Post that a group of seniors formed a fitness club there. One of their projects in Tampa transformed an outdated children’s playground into a multigenerational park, and now it’s being utilized more than ever before. 

KaBOOM! has constructed 53 multigenerational playgrounds in cities across America, but we still have plenty of catching up to do with the rest of the world. In just the greater Barcelona area alone, there are close to 300 parks for senior citizens (see the video below). Don't let anyone tell you that playtime is just for kids.

All images courtesy of Getty.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Health
This New Gym Is Dedicated to Working Out Your Face
iStock
iStock

You might have a workout routine dedicated to sculpting your abs and pecs, but are you ignoring your buccinators? What about your risorius? These muscles are often left out of strength training programs because instead of supporting the body parts that do a lot of heavy lifting, they're located in the face. But a UK-based beauty journalist thinks it's time we give our 40 facial muscles the attention they're due. As Fast Company reports, Inge Theron is bringing FaceGym—a spa and fitness center built around facial health and beauty—to New York City.

Theron launched her first FaceGym in London two years ago. After searching for a way to treat sagging, tired skin and finding only botox and surgery, she was inspired to offer something new. At FaceGym, clients have an assortment of facial workouts to choose from. Sessions may include an exercise routine followed by a facial massage courtesy of one of the gym's trainers. Other treatments include face masks, electrical muscle stimulation, laser sculpting, and frozen CO2 shots. "Workouts" range in price from $70 to $550.

Working out your face may have value beyond a quirky fitness trend. According to a study published earlier this year in JAMA Dermatology, middle-aged women who followed an exercise routine of certain facial movements over a few months ended up looking about three years younger. As we age, the fat pads behind our skin start to lose mass, resulting in saggy faces. The new research shows that building muscle in the face fills these areas, providing a non-invasive facelift.

FaceGym plans to open their Manhattan location in September, with more locations in the UK and the U.S. in the works.

[h/t Fast Company]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
environment
Good for You, Good for the Environment: 'Plogging' Combines Jogging With Picking Up Trash
iStock
iStock

If you can’'t motivate yourself to maintain a jogging habit for your own sake, try doing it for the sake of the planet. That's the thinking behind plogging: an eco-friendly Swedish fitness trend that's made its way to the U.S.

As Mashable reports, plogging (a mash-up of "jogging" and the Swedish word plocka, meaning "to pick") is simply going for a jog and picking up any litter you see along your route. The trash-collecting portion of the activity requires some bending and squatting, which adds variety to your workout routine. And at the end of your run, your neighborhood is a cleaner place for its residents—human and animal alike.

Improperly discarded trash can seriously hurt and even kill wildlife if it's ingested. Cities can hire people to clean up excess litter, but it comes at a high cost. According to a 2013 story in the Los Angeles Times, communities in California spend close to half a billion dollars a year keeping litter out of waterways.

Plogging alone won't solve the world’s litter problem, but if every jogger suddenly became a plogger, that would be a huge step in the right direction. Looking for a way to jump on the trend? The fitness app Lifesum now includes a plogging option for users.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios