How to Design a Park for Older, Active Adults

how to design a park for older, active adults

Exercising and spending time outdoors can improve older adults’ mental and physical health, and a park provides an ideal space for these activities. Creating an attractive park with adult outdoor fitness equipment, walking paths, benches, tables, shade and open areas provides an enjoyable space for any neighborhood.

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Why Should Communities Design Parks for Older Adults?

Parks enhance communities and help facilitate healthy habits. Communities should design parks for older adults because they offer the following benefits.


Parks for older adults provide a welcoming outdoor area to walk or use outdoor fitness equipment. Regular exercise can help older adults maintain good health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people 65 years and older complete at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly. A park is a perfect place for moderate exercises such as brisk walking or strengthening activities.


Designing parks for older adults creates a gathering place for social activities. Socialization can help improve mental and physical health. It can also boost mood and improve cognitive function.

Space to Enjoy Nature

Parks provide spaces for older adults to enjoy nature. Many people experience isolation and loneliness as they age, but visiting a park is an excellent opportunity to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature’s beauty.

what elements should senior parks include

What Elements Should Senior Parks Include?

Senior parks should feature the following elements.

  • Outdoor fitness equipment: Outdoor fitness equipment allows adults to engage in physical activity while enjoying outdoor spaces. Adult outdoor fitness equipment makes exercising fun, so it can encourage more people to visit the park and stay active. People are more likely to return to a park with enjoyable fitness equipment.
  • Tables and benches: Tables and benches provide spaces for older adults to interact and socialize. They can take a break from physical exercise to do mentally stimulating activities such as playing cards or chess.
  • Gardens: Gardens enhance a park’s visual appeal, attracting older adults to visit and walk around.
  • Accessible surfaces: While the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates all parks to be accessible, a park for older adults should have enhanced accessibility. That way, people who use mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs can move around easily.
  • Walking paths: Walking can help lower blood pressure, and walking paths allow older adults to exercise in the fresh air.
  • Shade: Shaded spaces shield people from sun exposure.
  • Good lighting: While you should provide adequate shade, natural light is also essential. Ensure open spaces have enough light for older adults to see their surroundings and where they are walking.
  • Buildings or walls: Small buildings or walls can add to a park’s aesthetic and block wind.
  • Multi-use courts: Older adults can play low-contact games such as tennis or pickleball in multi-use courts.
  • Water features: Water features such as lakes, fountains or streams create a beautiful atmosphere.

How to Design a Park for Older, Active Adults

Design an engaging and attractive park for older, active adults with the following tips.

Learn About the Community

Determine how many older adults currently use an existing park or would be interested in using a new park. Next, determine what they want to see and do. Take neighborhood polls to learn what types of activities local seniors enjoy, and add features that will attract people.

Install Fitness Equipment for Various Abilities and Activity Levels

Some older adults are more active than others. Provide a decent balance of exercise equipment, gathering spaces and relaxing spots to accommodate different people. Install several types of fitness equipment for visitors to enjoy.

Place Walking Paths Strategically

Design walking paths in a way that encourages older adults to use them. People are more likely to use smooth, level walking paths that lack slopes and obstacles. Placing a walking path near other elements, such as gardens and trees, makes walking more enjoyable and stimulating. An older adult can enjoy a stroll with pleasant views on a well-placed and well-paved walking path.

Walking loops are excellent path designs that allow people to walk as long as they want without straying too far from the park. Place a walking loop around gathering spaces so people can easily transition between walking and resting.

Place Tables and Benches Together

Placing tables and benches together makes it easier for people to socialize. Friend groups can gather for meals, conversations or fun activities after a walk. You can also include chess tables and provide peaceful areas for people to read or enjoy the scenery after a brisk walk.

Optimize Open and Shady Spaces

Since good lighting and shade are essential, you should optimize open and shaded spaces. Place benches in shady areas where people can rest or take a break from exercising in a cool, covered area. You can also plant trees or place artificial sail coverings to create more shade where necessary. Walking paths and outdoor fitness equipment should be in open, well-lit spaces for safety and visibility.

Use Buildings and Walls

Small buildings or walls placed around a park help block wind, creating a warmer space on chilly days. They can create a quiet, secure space apart from busy streets. You can also transform small buildings into gathering spaces where older adults can meet for conversation or events in cold or rainy weather.

Keep the Area Clean

Create and implement plans to keep the park tidy and neat. Properly maintaining a park helps reduce trash and litter, leaving level surfaces for people to walk on. A clean park is also more attractive and creates a better visitor experience.

design a park with outdoor fitness equipment

Design a Park With Adult Outdoor Fitness Equipment From Miracle® Recreation Equipment Company

Designing a park for older adults helps community members engage in physical activity while enjoying nature. A park for older people should feature level walking loops, adult outdoor fitness equipment, benches, tables, shaded spaces and plenty of natural light.

Create a fun and engaging park for aging adults with durable adult outdoor fitness equipment from Miracle Recreation. We provide equipment to meet your needs, budget and space, helping you attract more people and encourage them to return. Contact us to learn more about our adult outdoor fitness equipment and how it can enhance your park.