Walking is for All Ages

Walking is for All Ages

I’m often approached by older and more established residents who are concerned that the focus in White Flint is too heavily placed on drawing millenials, rather than attracting and keeping retirees.   In those conversations, I’ve pointed to several ways that the new White Flint will serve residents all along the age spectrum.  People at all stages of life are choosing to go car-free more and more.  Having the option to comfortably and safely walk is welcome when aging residents no longer wish to drive.

Experts agree that our environment affects our health and our longevity.  Daily activity and socialization provide a measurable boost to those living in quality neighborhoods.  Recently, William Satariano, a professor of epidemiology and community health at UC-Berkley, spoke on this very subject in an article for SFGate.com.  From that article:

Satariano and other experts say the relationship a person has to the surrounding environment becomes crucial as his or her body wears down. One-third to one-half of adults 65 or older are estimated to be physically impaired.

Lack of physical activity can lead to diminished muscle mass, osteoporosis and obesity, as well as isolation and depression, studies show. Those with limited mobility have a higher risk of needing health services, being institutionalized and prematurely dying.

These problems seem certain to increase as those in the Boomer generation become senior citizens. From 2000 to 2010, the 65-and-older population grew 15 percent to 40 million people, according to census data, making them the largest and fastest-growing demographic in the United States.

The South and Southwest regions of the country are aging the fastest, but the highest concentrations of seniors are in Florida, the Northeast and the Midwest, according to a Brookings Institution analysis. Suburbs are generally aging more rapidly than cities.

With those trends in mind, Satariano and others have set out to try to identify the elements of a neighborhood that encourage walking.

“If we have a good idea of those things, perhaps we can incorporate them into neighborhood design,” Satariano said.

Read the full piece from SFGate.com by clicking here!

Lindsay Hoffman

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