A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that older adults who live in areas that are favorable for walking, walk more frequently than those living in areas where walking is more difficult. In addition, this study showed a trend for lower body mass index (BMI) in men living in more walkable neighborhoods.
Do you live in an activity-friendly neighborhood? Take this quiz.
My neighborhood has...
|...parks, walking/biking trails, or other places to be active outdoors.||Yes||No|
|...shopping malls, recreation centers, or other places to be active indoors.||Yes||No|
|...enjoyable scenery like trees, historic buildings, courtyards, or shops.||Yes||No|
|...streets that do not have heavy traffic.||Yes||No|
|...air that smells clean.||Yes||No|
|...a low crime rate.||Yes||No|
|...many people being active outdoors.||Yes||No|
If you answered "Yes" to most of these statements, you live in an activity-friendly neighborhood. If you said "no" to most of these statements, your environment might be a barrier to adding physical activity to your life.
You can learn more about how conducive – or not – your community is to physical activity by doing a walkability audit. This is a walking survey of a school, neighborhood or downtown environment. You can download a walkability checklist at drusilla.hsrc.unc.edu/cms/downloads/walkabilitychecklist.pdf to guide you in doing the audit. To help you engage others and find support for promoting changes that will make your neighborhood better for physical activity, check out www.activelivingresources.org and www.activelivingbydesign.org.
¹ Berke E.M., et. al. (2007). Association of the built environment with physical activity and obesity in older persons. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 3, 486-492.