BACKGROUND: The growing amount of outdoor fitness equipment (OFE) placed in parks in many countries has the intent of encouraging physical activity among aging populations. However, little investigated aspects are the perceptions and experiences of older adults regarding the use of these facilities. Hence, this study seeks senior OFE users' opinions to understand the exact nature of use of these facilities, the perceived health benefits achieved, and equipment's improvements that would further encourage use.
METHODS: The study conducts semi-structured interviews with 55 senior OFE users at two parks in Taiwan.
RESULTS: Study results suggest that although OFE use is not the main purpose for which seniors visit parks, most seniors perceive the benefit of using OFE in terms of both physical and psychological health, as well as social connection. Respondents also raised issues related to safety, maintenance, and management of OFE.
CONCLUSIONS: OFE appears to meet the health needs of seniors, but improved management is necessary to ensure safety. Further research would reveal the actual behavior involving OFE use and use's relationship to the physical activity of seniors.
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