The term “adult playground” may deter some adults from using one however it is this concept that could play a part in addressing Scotland’s ever expanding obesity epidemic.
It is estimated that the majority of adults in Scotland do not achieve the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. This sedentary lifestyle has been estimated to contribute to approximately 2,500 premature deaths per year in Scotland as well as 25% of colon-cancer deaths1.
Adult playgrounds, or outdoor gyms, have been implemented in many countries over the world in an attempt to increase physical activity levels. Being able to exercise outdoors literally tears down the walls constructed by the modern gym culture, negating barriers such as cost and accessibility, returning physical activity to a more natural experience. These outdoor gyms could make exercise free and local for those in most need of them.
In the UK, Camden is at the forefront of this new craze, having 9 adult playgrounds situated throughout the burgh. Research suggests that 26% of those attending these gyms would not have exercised otherwise2 demonstrating the effects such innovative projects can have on an otherwise sedentary population.
The first outdoor gym was introduced to Scotland earlier this year, in Edinburgh, and depending on its success they could be introduced across the country3. It could be that regressing back into the playground is what Scotland needs to help quell its rising obesity levels.
This article was originally published in Volume 3, Issue 4 of the SCPN Newsletter.
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