How to design a functional park for senior citizens

two seniors working out on outdoor fitness equipment in a park

Seven tips for planning a senior park

Senior park, senior fitness site, or senior citizen playground? We prefer the term senior park as it encompasses all the activities surrounding a functional park for seniors. When it comes to designing a senior park, several factors must be considered because for this group, it’s not just about staying fit through exercise; a senior park must also offer opportunities for social and community engagement, be accessible, and so much more. Here are seven tips to consider when planning and building a park for senior citizens:

  1. User-involvement

  2. Community feel

  3. Accessibility

  4. Type of equipment

  5. Safety first

  6. Consult the professionals

  7. Budget

Contact your local fitness expert

Tip 1


Seniors are a diverse group of people with different needs and age-related issues. Some elderly may want to be part of a community with peers, others need to stay fit or use equipment for rehabilitation purposes, and some seniors need a bench in the shade to enjoy the view or observe everyday life. Make sure to engage your community and residents in the area before the design process to include their wants and needs.

seniors working out in an outdoor gym
Seniors working out on a senior playground

Tip 2: Community feel

The main purpose of building a park for the elderly is to cater to overall wellbeing. Not just to provide them a space where they can exercise, stay fit, or for rehabilitative purposes but also to interact and engage with peers in the outdoors. By designing a park with the elderly specifically in mind, you will help motivate them to leave their houses, experience the outdoors, and get some fresh air along with their fellow community members. The benefits of a shared community and a sense of belonging can prevent loneliness and isolation, helping seniors to live a longer and more fulfilling life.

senior citizens using outdoor gym equipment for elderly hero image

Tip 3: Accessibility

Easy access to your senior park is vital as many users in this group have challenges with mobility and often require walkers, canes, and even wheelchairs. As such, even ground surfaces and wide routes to and from the parking area are essential. Additionally, any ramps should be at a reasonable angle. For extra comfort, make sure to have tables and benches placed throughout the park, enabling rest when needed and socialization as desired. Bear in mind that older people may also bring their families to the park, so designing your space to include activities for multiple generations enables quality time for the entire family.

Tip 4

Type of equipment

At KOMPAN, we have designed a range of equipment targeting seniors based on facilitating the training of fundamental skills like walking on uneven surfaces or navigating steps and stairs. Often, a downward spiral begins through inactivity or even due to the most minor physical mishaps. Trips and falls are among the most frequent triggers for injuries. It is universally accepted that three-quarters of fatal and non-fatal accidents involving older people are caused by slipping or stumbling. Prevention is better than cure, but the equipment is also a valuable means of rehabilitation in case of a mishap.

man using outdoor fitness equipment for seniors to improve balance

Tip 5: Safety

For senior parks, the equipment must be easy to use, have clear instructions, and, most of all, be safe. Investing in high-quality equipment will help to ensure safety and prevent any injuries. Beyond the equipment, keeping the area clean can also make the park more secure by reducing the risk of falls. Good lighting in the park will make the area feel safer and more welcoming as well, especially for those with conditions that affect their eyesight. Shaded areas are also a must as seniors must stay cool and out of the sun to prevent dehydration, especially during warmer weather.

consultation about a outdoor functional fitness park for seniors

Tip 6: Consult the professionals

We always recommend consulting with healthcare professionals familiar with working with older adults, such as fitness instructors, nurses, physiotherapists, or physicians, as they can help choose the right equipment for the seniors in your community.

Our team of fitness experts also have vast experience with building and designing functional senior parks, and they are here to ensure that you get the most out of your project when it comes to designing and working within your budget.

people working out on outdoor fitness equipment

Tip 7: Budget

Budget is always a significant factor when considering a senior park plan. To ensure you get the most out of your budget, we recommend consulting with our teams of experts, as they know how you keep your project within budget.

While the equipment takes up around half of your budget, the rest is allocated to services related to building the senior park, including landscaping, installation costs, and shipping. We also ensure that all national and local safety criteria are met.

The health benefits of senior parks

There are many health benefits associated with senior parks. Increased age means physiological changes and decreased physical performance. Still, much of this is attributed to decreased physical activity levels and can be prevented or reduced by regular exercise. Not only does exercise build muscle strength, but it also prevents age-related problems such as reduced cardiometabolic health, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Social and emotional factors of outdoor exercise in a senior park also play a big part in motivating older adults and increasing their quality of life.

Check out our fitness planning page to learn more about how to build an outdoor gym.

Frequently asked questions

Should seniors lift heavy or light weights?

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but over the age of 50, there is no reason to push one's self too hard. Seniors should try a slightly lighter weight with which they can safely do 10 to 12 reps.

What type of training is best for seniors

The best exercise for preventing most lifestyle diseases combines cardio training, strength training, and overall increased physical activity levels. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, helps to keep bones healthy and strong. For heart and lungs, moderate intensity exercise is ideal. For example, exercising at about 70% of the individual's maximum heart rate (220 beats per minute minus your age).

What type of equipment is best for senior parks?

We recommend exercise equipment for seniors from our Stay Fit range. The Up & Go may seem simplistic, with only a seat, a guide rail, and a post to walk around, yet it mimics some of the most important movements. Seniors can gauge their fitness level by timing how many they can do. Similarly, the Stairs and Ramp, Double Stairs, and Balance Board help simulate the most common activities encountered during a typical day out and about.

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