New York City is installing adult playgrounds for fitness-hungry grown-ups, touting the benefits of a grade-school workout.
For those of us who had more fun swinging from monkey bars than going for a run, adult playgrounds offer chin-up bars, metal sit-up racks, balance beams and plenty of equipment to hang from. Still, the Big Apple parks are geared more toward workouts than whiling away the summer hours. There aren't any slides or swings yet at these outdoor gyms.
The City of New York built its first adult playground in the Bronx's Macomb Dam Park. The New York Times reports as many as 24 playplaces for grown-up kids could be installed by 2014.
In Europe, where playtime seems to be more a more capricious venture, adult playgrounds tempt grown-ups to get off the couch with detailed outdoor mazes, rock climbing walls, elephant slides and swimming canals.
Philip Lauri is the founder of Detroit Lives!, the media company with the mission of bringing creativity to the streets of Detroit (through an apparel line, murals and the "After The Factory" documentary). Detroit Lives! has recently started experimenting with making places in the city that inspire that same joie de vivre and fun -- like the Georgia Street Community Collective's remote-control racetrack for kids living in the nonprofit's target neighborhood. He thinks adult playgrounds could be smart additions to neighborhoods who have already installed thriving community gardens.
"In those areas, we install an adult playground as an addendum to that successful effort, and use the kind of neighborhood engagement that the garden created to successfully initiate the adult playground," Lauri wrote. "Then, both sites grow with participation and we get healthier people and neighborhoods. That’s a simplified progression, but still tangible enough to act upon quite quickly."