For Seniors, the Play's the Thing

Older active playgrounds are essential exercise sites for the body and the mind. But, since senior aren't children, these playgrounds need to be revamped.

The International Council on Active Aging endorsed them at its latest annual conference.

Colin Milner, Vancouver based CEO of the Active Aging council told The Province: "I think this concept will become vital." He added, “It’s about giving yourself permission to have fun instead of thinking of it as rigorous exercise."

Play is positive for stabilizing moods and boosts the immune system. Milner sees it as a tool to ensure the health of a greying population. Physical activity delays chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Older people, intimidated by the traditional gym enjoy the playground experience, and are more likely to engage it. Guy Chaham's GreenGym Outdoor Fitness Equipment has outfitted around 275 parks across the country.

"You can tell someone to play soccer, advertise soccer on TV, place soccer ads on the radio. But if you put the ball between their legs, they're probably going to play," he told The Province.

"This is based on that concept. If you put fitness equipment where people are, they're going to use it."

Assisted Living and Continuing Care residences are likely to be the new hot spot for senior playgrounds.