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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Low Physical Effort


Is the accessible route through the playground and to the accessible play components designed with a surface that is level and easy to maneuver? Or is the surface uneven and unstable, requiring the user to exert extra effort? Is the user tired or physically exhausted from traversing the playground surfacing before he or she even gets to the first play component? The trend in playground design these days is to provide equipment and spaces that will help children burn calories through physical activity. However, physical activity is only one outcome compared to the myriad benefits children receive from a playground designed with purposeful play value. The principle of low physical effort emphasizes design where individuals can use the environment with little exertion or fatigue. Equipment can require extra physical effort. However, the surface used to get there should not. One child, because of his or her disability, should not have to exert more physical effort than any other child to move from one area of the playground to another. If all of the child's energy is exerted on traversing the accessible route and surfacing, the child will have no energy left to actually play with or on the equipment.


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