Physical activity is vital at any age, but it is especially crucial for seniors. Regular exercise and movement keeps older individuals healthy. It also provides them with a better quality of life. The risks for heart disease, dementia, and other age-related diseases are reduced when seniors stay active. So the question remains, how can local communities help keep their older residents moving? Part of the solution starts with essential public resources like parks.

Parks can play a crucial role in older populations. Where a senior lives, and what surrounds them impacts their activity level. In other words, when public parks are made available to seniors, they will have the chance to engage in more physical activity. Parks are a safe and accessible location for solo and group exercise. With a park, seniors can enjoy nature and get their required physical activity in for the day.

Parks And Physical Activity

Most individuals need 150 minutes of exercise per week. It can be difficult for some to get this amount of activity. But with the help of parks, this goal is made more attainable. Still, parks could use improvement. Unfortunately, not many people use this public resource. Under ten percent of older adults in America utilize this free open space. This statistic does not make parks unimportant to senior populations, it means that communities need to make improvements.

In countries like China, Taiwan, and South Korea, older populations use parks far more frequently. Over half the people going to these parks are seniors. A substantial amount of older adults in these countries use parks to meet physical activity requirements.

Making American Parks a Priority

These results are possible because of community effort and an emphasis on the importance of parks. When a park is built with everyone in mind, more people will use them, including the senior population who can benefit the most. Local communities should invest in parks that not only look good but offer variety and convenience.

In China, for example, streams are built into parks to create a more inviting atmosphere. They also have exercise equipment and space made for group classes helping to increase senior activity levels further.
If more effort and importance is aimed at American parks, America’s senior population could see a rise in park use and significant health benefits. It’s something to think about in this country. America has some of the highest senior obesity rates and heart disease rates in the world. Parks could help reduce this problem.

For more information on park benefits for seniors, check out The Tapestry, an age-targeted community in Garner, NC.  Call 919-772-4663.