Your kids love the playground. Could playgrounds also be a fun exercise solution for you?
The latest trend in encouraging Americans to pursue a more active lifestyle puts a new twist on an age-old concept: playgrounds for adults. Already popular in China and Europe, adult playgrounds are coming to the U.S. New York City piloted its first adult playground in the Bronx two years ago. The concept has proved so popular that the city plans to add as many as 24 more of these outdoor gyms in the next 18 months. New York isn’t alone: Miami-Dade County, San Antonio, and Los Angeles have all embraced the concept. City planners report people standing in line to use the equipment.
In addition to drawing more people to the parks, adult playgrounds make exercise fun, accessible, and affordable. The public spaces feature familiar equipment such as monkey bars, sit-up benches, and chin-up bars. Other amenities include features such as exercise mats, elliptical trainers, and rowing machines. Equipment for adult playgrounds is often made by the same manufacturers who make children’s play structures at a fraction of the cost. Los Angeles spends an average of $40,000 on adult playgrounds–much less than the $300,000 price tag for children’s play areas.
City leaders and health experts expect the playgrounds to have a positive impact on urban health:
“Let’s face it, most of us dread going to the gym,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard Medical School professor who directs the Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The point is to make physical activity fun, easy and accessible, so it’s the normal thing to do.”
If your city hasn’t joined the adult playground trend, you can still use playground equipment for a fun exercise routine.Possible moves include:
- Chin-ups or pull ups off the monkey bars
- Standing push-ups on the jungle gym
- Lateral leg-lifts while standing on a step
- Bench dips on any park bench
- Scissor swings–sit in the swing and lean back about 45 degrees while holding on to the chains. Lift your legs in front of you and cross them in a scissor motion, using your abdominal muscles to stabilize you. Try to keep the swing as still as possible.
Don’t forget to log into Nexercise and keep your phone with you while you work out to earn virtual medals, prizes, and other great rewards. Check out our app to see how Nexercise makes fitness rewarding and fun.