The positive effects of exercise on brain health have been demonstrated in many studies now. The next step may be to develop low-cost programs in the community that provide appropriate support and structure for adults (especially older adults) to encourage physical activity.
A great example of such program is The Adult Playground in Beijing, China (Dhand et al., 2010):
Half a football field large, this space consisted of all-weather stretching and strengthening equipment such as elliptical machines, flat benches, modified leg press machines, railings at different heights, monkey bars, and arm and leg rotatory devices. The area was teeming with adults, most older than 60 years, who were not only exercising but also playing games such as Chinese hacky sack (a Chinese game from the 5th century BC) and traditional board games.
The Chinese government has erected several outdoor adult playground of this type across urban areas. This seems to be a great example of a low-cost, easily accessible, solution combining physical exercise with socialization as well as cognitive exercise.
Tricia White says
We have adult play equipment on my local playing field in Norton Fitzwarren in Somerset — it is really well used now & great fun 🙂 and there is also some associated with Northwards Housing Trust up in Manchester http://www.northwardshousing.co.uk/news_publications/inthenews/olderplay.htm
Paula Sabo says
Great video about a Seniors Outdoor Playground in Hyde Park, London!!
Thanks for the links! Good to know that such spaces exist world-wide.
Christopher Magpul says
Wish we had more of this in the states. I just got my first job out of college and sit behind a cubicle all day. I never payed attention to it before, when someone mentioned that they don’t even get natural sunlight in their office, but it makes a different. It would be such a relief to get outside and be active, even for just 15 minutes.