Physical activity areas in urban parks and their use by the elderly from two cities in China and Germany

Yanping Duan*, Petra Wagner, Ru Zhang, Hagen Wulff, Walter Brehm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
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Urban parks have been recognized as important physical activity (PA) places for senior city residents. This research aimed to investigate PA areas in parks and their use by the elderly in a Chinese (Hong Kong) and a German city (Leipzig). PA areas and the PA executed by the elderly were observed in six parks in each city. Additionally, observers also surveyed overall PA, park-based PA and park accessibility of the active elderly in Hong Kong (HK) (n = 317, Mean age = 69.96, SD = 6.81), and in Leipzig (L) (n = 311, Mean age = 72.06, SD = 6.78) respectively. Results demonstrated that trails were the most often used PA areas by the elderly, where the elderly walk (in both cities) or cycle (only in L). Fitness stations and secure areas were more often found in HK parks, however, more lawn areas were found in L parks, making structured exercise possible. Sports fields were often used by HK elderly for sports and fitness exercising, but were rarely used by L elderly. Playgrounds were more often used by the HK elderly. In both cities, more males than female elderly were active and more often with low intensity. The elderly preferred accessing PA areas in parks by walking or cycling. Compared with L, the urban parks in HK were the primary locations for the elderly to engage in PA. Park planners should consider optimizing the functioning of PA areas to facilitate elderly physical activity in parks thus enhancing the health status of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Health enhancing physical activity
  • Park-based physical activity
  • Physical activity areas
  • Urban parks


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