The population of people over 65 is growing nationally and that is true in Mueller as well. The Baby Boomers started turning 75 in 2021. The generation that was never going to get old is now facing the reality that we all are aging.
In Mueller, WAAO inc is working with the neighborhood association’s Aging&Neighborhood Subcommittee to create spaces for our seniors to age gracefully by remaining active and socially involved.
One effort is to design, fund and have installed, a “Senior Fitness Playground” with equipment that is age and ability appropriate for seniors and their young grandchildren.
Many Mueller residents moved here to be closer to family. The equipment being proposed is designed for families who want to be active together. Research on day care centers and the elderly led to a mix of equipment that allows both groups to be engaged and active. Hopefully, grandparents and their grandchildren will find this active “playground” enjoyable, entertaining and fun as they spend time together.
We are working towards I3 (Intentional Intergenerational Interactions)
The following text and diagrams are modified from https://www.lappset.com/Products/Outdoor-sport-equipment/Senior-Sport and are intended to present basic concepts. The final project may look entirely different and use different or additional equipment.
To see how an Australian town used the Lappset equipment to create a fitness playground click here. This video also shows some of the “exercises” that are available with the equipment.
Active Aging Exercises
Senior Sport equipment strengthens the motor skills and manual dexterity of the elderly. They offer sensible forms of activity, which also enhances mental well-being.
Strength and Balance:
Reduced muscular strength and balance expose people to the risk of falling. As we get older, the importance of maintaining our muscular strength becomes emphasized. Large muscles support the posture, contribute to metabolism and, most importantly, prevent falling and protect from injury, if a person does fall down. When these muscles are in good condition, they react quicker if a person falls down, thus softening the impact on the bones. And if a person does happen to fall down, it enhances the chance for a successful rehabilitation if there is some reserve in the muscle mass.
Mobility and Upper Body Joints:
As we become older, our mobility declines. This is due to factors such as an increase of connective tissue in joints, and the reduced elasticity of tendons and muscles. The reduced range of motion affects our everyday activities, such as getting dressed, washing ourselves and reaching to an upper cabinet shelf. The range of motion is also connected to how the muscles produce strength. The range of motion can be maintained and improved, and muscle and joint ache prevented and reduced by means of regular mobility exercises.
Core and Walking:
The ability and skill to walk is one of the key indicators of a person’s ability to function. As we get older, our step length becomes shorter and gait speed slows down. It is important to perform stepping exercises on different surfaces that affect the ankle posture. Shifting one’s balance from one leg to another (or from one buttock to another if sitting down) is a key part of walking. The same movement strengthens the muscles in the core and the pelvic area. Shifting the balance from one leg to another when standing up functions as a good movement exercise for the ankle.
Research on Seniors and Exercise
Keep in Touch
If you would like to keep in touch with our progress on this project or feel the need to help us make it happen please fill out the form below and we will be in touch.