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Belgian insurer creates playful playground benches to slow muscle loss in those over 30

Visit a playground, and you'll likely see children energetically engaged while their parents, seated on park benches, divide their attention between their offspring and their phones. Most remain blissfully unaware that age-related muscle loss, termed sarcopenia, begins around the age of 30. But that loss of muscle and strength is why Belgian health insurer Helan wants to get adults moving — so it rejigged the very benches they gravitate towards.

One bench, balanced on a coil spring, prompts sitters to engage their core to counter its wobbly motions. Two others require a clamber up a climbing rack or a steep slide, and a fourth barely has legs, compelling people to exercise their own legs to stand up. The four benches, crafted by RAAK Design Studio, have been installed at a recreational site in Ghent. Six other Belgian cities have also expressed interest.

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Plenty of parks feature outdoor fitness equipment for anyone to use. But those demand dedicated effort. Helan and its creative agency Famous Grey aim to show that muscle-building movements can be incorporated throughout the day, without changing clothes or blocking time to exercise.

Which playful interventions could your brand insert into daily life? What could you design to build awareness and get people moving, or help them adopt any other behavior they know would be good for them, but are too busy or tired to accomplish?

Related: Gently rotating, solar-powered benches by ENESS prompt city-dwellers to slow down

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom