Are playgrounds just for kids? Maybe not. Playgrounds designed for adults of all ages have been popping up in New York, Chicago, Miami, LA, Boston and Seattle. They help adults get outside to exercise using functional movements: pushing, pulling, squatting, bending and gliding which are important to preserve strength and balance, minimizing injuries as we age. When playgrounds are designed for both children and adults everyone wins. Parents get to spend a few minutes taking care of themselves while their children play and adults without children can exercise without interfering with the kids.
Contemporary community planning emphasizes easier access to stores, shops and parks which encourage walking, cycling and a healthier lifestyle. A playground designed for adults would be the next logical step for Maplewood to pursue. The Ryan Hummert Memorial Park which is the home of the summer concert series and a well-used children’s playground would make an ideal site. Both Maplewood mayoral candidates, Barry Greenberg and Patrick Jugo, have endorsed the importance of a long term plan to accommodate the needs of an aging population. I hope that whoever becomes the next mayor of Maplewood would actively work with the city to pursue the creation of a playground designed for adults.