Think about everything that falls onto the plate of a park developer, or really anyone that's responsible for planning recreational spaces. Typically, you're called upon to develop a purchasing plan for all of the equipment. If that includes outdoor fitness equipment then you must be willing to think about how people of all age groups might use the various pieces. It can be a lot to handle, and it is not surprising that many have questions about what considerations they need to make when trying to create a space to exercise for older fitness enthusiasts.
Top Outdoor Fitness Equipment for Seniors:
(Accessible model pictured)
What To Consider When Choosing Outdoor Fitness Equipment For Seniors
Here are some things to remember about challenges that senior citizens may face when looking for a space to actively work on their health and wellness:
They may have decreased mobility
They may have an increased risk of injury
They may be discriminated against because of their age
They may not want to be around children for fear of getting hurt (if children act carelessly)
They may feel disconnected from their community
Adult fitness considerations are one thing, but there are many challenging aspects of aging that many do not think about when trying to maintain their fitness levels, stay healthy and avoid obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Ultimately the goal with any exercise is to increase the participants quality of life.
Park and playground equipment can both be fun and functional. A purchaser must think about what works best for everyone with any park, playground or location looking to include outdoor fitness equipment. You'll want to customize your selection of equipment accordingly to create the optimal space.
Why Is It Better To Use Outdoor Exercise Equipment Instead Of Indoor Facilities?
People inherently think playgrounds are just for our youth and school age children to play, but everyone could benefit from getting some fresh air and even walking outside regularly. Just being outdoors instead of inside may help with mood, allow people to stay healthy, and it may help foster a sense of community. Who needs a gym membership when you can just go outside? Trainers may even be able to provide their typical service outdoors.
Across the world as people get older many say that they feel isolated in their homes or even in their place of business. They are unhappy because they exercise and play less and feel like they aren't treated fairly by other people. Most even believe that there's nothing much they can even do about it. We absolutely must do something about this to change the trajectory of how they feel and how they remain so isolated during these times.
Installing outdoor fitness equipment geared toward their abilities is a great way to get more people in contact with one another in their communities and increase well being. The exercise stations make for a perfect addition to outdoor recreational spaces and fit in perfectly alongside any standard playground equipment. Elderly men and women alike will enjoy the additions!
Best Outdoor Fitness Equipment for Seniors
The ActionFit skill trainer is a piece of exercise equipment that trains the mind and the body. It is said to help with:
- Mental dexterity
- Fine motor skills
Every one of these skills is something worth practicing no matter who you are, which may be particularly important for older adults. They need to remain as tuned and in control as possible with various aspects of their mental and physical health if they want to stay sharp. If you can complete the task successfully take that as a good sign! It's like a game and who doesn't want to play a game?
How Do You Use This Device?
Users grab a colored ring on the skill trainer and try to slide it across the length of the bar without allowing the sides of the ring to make contact with the bar. In other words, they attempt to get the bar to pass through the hole at the center of the ring. It may sound easy, but it is more challenging than you think. It is necessary to remain highly focused at all times when attempting this, and users must control their desire to move the ring quickly and watch closely in order to keep it from hitting the bar. It is a lot of fun, and it will bring people together.
People don't typically think of walking up stairs as fitness, particularly outdoor fitness, but climbing stairs makes for great exercise and may prove more and more challenging as people age. The joints and muscles that propel us up the stairs with ease when we are younger begin to wear down to some extent as we age, and this might mean that climbing the stairs is out of the picture for some of us as time moves on.
Strengthening your lower body makes for a great way to combat that, and step ups in general are one of the best exercises for healthy knees and really any lower body workout. Aside from strengthening benefits, being able to maintain your ability to traverse stairs and work on those muscle groups will have a major positive impact on quality of life.
Why Is This A Good Choice For Senior Users?
Aside from the fact that seniors may need additional assistance with building their muscles to get up and down stairs, it is also a great piece of equipment for them because it is accessible. There are handrails on both sides of the step trainer for added stability which makes it possible for individuals with limited mobility to use this equipment. Some may choose to go hands free for more of a challenge, which is perfectly acceptable, but in the case users need their arms they have the rails in place.
A healthy and happy life for seniors starts by having some of the primary motor skills that most of us take for granted at their disposal. One such skill is to have a high level of balance. Stability issues are quite common for older people as time goes on. Given people tend to exercise less they may also see declines in their range of motion in general.
It is not easy to get older, and people who start to suffer from some of these effects need help to regain their abilities. One great way to help them do just that is to purchase an assisted balance beam product for them to use. Walking on the beam is one of the best exercises users can do as they age and comes with a host of benefits.
The bars on either side of the balance walk allow users to keep contact with their hands, which makes it easy for anyone of any physical capabilities to use this piece of equipment. Still, it is advantageous to those seeking to regain their sense of balance.
The grips on the bars are made of slip-resistant plastic. This means that they are made in such a way that it is a lot easier to hold on to them even if you start to lose a sense of balance and feel as though you are going to fall. Of course users can go hands free to deliver a greater challenge to their coordination.
People in the business of choosing outdoor fitness equipment for parks or a playground should consider how the assisted balance walk may benefit seniors in particular.
People love sports and most older adults appreciate a challenge while doing a workout just as much as anyone else. Thus, they will surely like the fact that the assisted functional trainer can help them with cardiovascular strength, coordination and build up their core all at the same time.
The bars on either side allow users to get support if necessary while performing the different possible exercises. Functional exercise equipment is all about helping users practice exercises that help the natural way their bodies move and function. There are different schools of thought regarding the efficacy, but outfitting your fitness space with select functional fitness equipment pieces would be doing a great service to your patrons.
On one side, the equipment also has a comfortable seat that one can use to perform the exercises from a seated position if they should decide to do so. This also helps with accessibility for those who may not be as able-bodied and using the seat in conjunction with the bars will allow users to squat up and down with assistance. Ultimately, they can still get the benefits of a great workout even from a seated position, and that is very important to a lot of people.
This piece of equipment has been deemed to be ADA accessible and is, therefore, an excellent choice for parks looking to cater to seniors and to those with limited mobility in general.
Yet another great piece of outdoor fitness equipment to consider for your park or outdoor fitness space is the assisted step-around. The great thing about this piece of equipment is how it exercises both users coordination and strength simultaneously. The pieces can also act as a balance beam.
The ring at the center of this equipment acts as a support while the user steps around the various pieces that jut out from the center of the step-around. The user steps over the legs one leg at a time, switching legs with each movement while holding onto the bars for support. It's a great piece for any outdoor fitness site as it's a test of balance, leg strength, and mobility.
It can be used by seniors to work on some of the core skills that they may be missing with a traditional workout. As with most of the other pieces on this list, this equipment comes with a sign that instructs users on how to use it which helps with engagement and reduces the chance of injury.
You may have seen those traditional tai chi spinners at your local playground and just like those, this piece of equipment is effortless to use, but they still provide incredible benefits that you don't want anyone to miss out on. Aside from this equipment being fun to use, it's especially great for shoulder health and exercises the shoulders through a full range of motion. A quality that people lose when they don't use those muscles.
How Can Seniors Use This?
Place your hands on the center of the wheels and rotate them slowly in one direction. Your bodyweight will act as a source of some resistance with this equipment, and you will start to see how the equipment resists your moves ever so slightly, similar to a stretching feeling. It is enough to begin to feel a slight burn in your muscles as you use it. If it's especially tough then that's a sign you should be using your shoulders through a full range of motion more often!
There are two height settings for the comfort of the users of this equipment. That is important for making it ADA accessible as well. It needs to be set up so that people of all mobility levels can use it to make it ideal for your community parks or playground. Fortunately, it is, which makes it such a great choice to put on your purchase list.
The ActionFit Chest Press gets an honorary mention on this list because, although it wasn't specifically designed for any one group of users, it allows participants to strengthen their arms and upper body in an outdoor fitness setting. Push-ups are a great exercise that don't require equipment, but for people that don't possess the strength to do them they can turn to the chest press. For that reason this piece of equipment could make perfect sense for older populations looking to achieve a full body workout.
The same logic applies for any of the other equipment we've selected for our collection of outdoor fitness equipment for seniors which you can check out HERE.
There's a lot more that goes into choosing the proper outdoor exercise equipment for older populations than people think. Of course any physical activity is better than none but if you want to maximize the usage of the new equipment it helps to have a plan:
- Account for age-appropriate fitness needs
- Choose equipment based off of your normal demographic
- Full-Body usability - Select stations that allow users to exercise their entire body
All of the outdoor fitness equipment referenced is made of quality materials and built to stand up to the weather and constant use so stick to those parameters and your decision process should become much simpler. Encouraging outdoor fitness is a great step to creating a healthier and happier community!
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have specific questions about your project!