Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

London's Hyde Park to get pensioner playground

Pensioners' playgrounds already exist in Manchester and Berlin

A "pensioners playground" is set to open in Hyde Park, central London, after being given the go ahead by Westminster City Council.

The £40,000 playground will feature fitness equipment designed specifically to provide gentle exercise for people over the age of 60.

The playground will be signposted Hyde Park Senior Playground, although under-60s will not be banned

Play areas for older people are already popular in China and parts of Europe.

Healthy lifestyles

Located in the park's pavilion tennis and bowls centre, the playground is intended to help adults continue active and healthy lifestyles in later years.

It will contain six pieces of equipment will offer users a balance of exercises to work the arms, legs and upper body.

Older people find indoor gyms intimidating and expensive and therefore aren't exercising enough
Madeline Elsdon, Knightsbridge Association

Once complete, it will include a cross-trainer, body-flexer, free runner, sit-up bench, flex wheel and a bike to improve strength balance and flexibility.

The idea was proposed by the Knightsbridge Association, a local residents' association, and will be funded by Westminster City Council.

"In the United Kingdom there are now more pensioners than children but few facilities for them in our parks," said Madeline Elsdon, from the Knightsbridge Association.

"We proposed the playground because many older people find indoor gyms intimidating and expensive and therefore aren't exercising enough."

Westminster councillor Lee Rowley said: "Exercise isn't just for young people - older residents should have the opportunity to get fit and active as well. "

The first pensioner's playground in UK opened in Manchester in 2008.

Work on the Westminster playground was due to start next month and was expected to open in spring.

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