Elderly to get own park

LONDON - Swinging London will take on a whole new meaning for the capital's ageing baby-boomers, who are soon to get their own outdoor playground.

The park will offer low-impact exercise equipment to help older people improve their balance and flexibility and tone muscles that may not have been tested for decades.

"Every park has a children's playground, very few have playgrounds for adults, and none have playgrounds for the elderly," said Madeline Elsdon, whose local residents' association has won funding for the playground, which is planned for London's Hyde Park.

"We wanted something that would be of long-term benefit to people, so we came up with this idea for an older person's playground."

Exercise areas aimed at the elderly are popular in Europe and Asia, and there's already a British precedent - an over-60s playground billed as Britain's first opened in Manchester's Dam Head Park two years ago.

Elsdon said the free Hyde Park playground, due to be built by next month, will have six pieces of equipment bought in Denmark, including a stationary bicycle, a cross-trainer and a sit-up bench.

British group Age Concern, which works to help the elderly, said the playground sounded like a great idea.

Westminster City Council, which gave 40,000 ($90,000) to fund the project, said a sign would identify the area as the Hyde Park Senior Playground but anyone was welcome to use it.

- AP

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