Play shouldn’t be just for the young, but for the young at heart.
All children and their parents need to play outside to grow and develop properly.
Balance, reflexes, and even things like stability can be learnt and honed from running and climbing on playground equipment. Interestingly, a new study by the National Ageing Research Institute will determine if these same skills can be improved in older generations from outside playing, too.
The ‘play’ won’t be the same, rather the equipment will focus on those core abilities that are needed for everyday life, the ones that slowly weaken as you age. Like standing up from a sitting position or lifting things from below or above your head. The things most of us take for granted, but for many Australians are difficult tasks.
If the study proves (as we think it will) that play can help everyone, no matter your age, then ‘senior playgrounds’ may well be the next big thing! We believe it is important to focus on the health of the whole community, and with Australia’s ageing population, play is more important than ever before.
This shows that no matter your age, playing outside is all good news. Play isn’t just good for physical skills and strength, either. When you play your body releases positive feelgood chemicals like dopamine and endorphins, making you feel energised to do more of the good stuff, like spending time outdoors, or enjoying nature on a family picnic. This also ensures meaningful interactions with our loved ones, just as important as it’s always been.
So next time the kids (or you) reach for the iPad or remote, head out to your closest playground instead for some reflex building, strength enhancing, flexibility increasing fun in the playground!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
― George Bernard Shaw