June 25, 2020

Want to Live Long and Prosper? Move to a Walkable Neighbourhood


Want to live long and prosper? Here’s a new study from Washington State University showing that walkability has a strong correlation with the likelihood of reaching centenarian age by area.

If you live in a place that has good walking and provides the ability to walk to schools, shops and services, and  has lots of young people working, the correlation is high for a healthy long life.

In a study of close to 150,000 seniors in Washington state, researchers looked at individuals who had lived longer than 75 years up to 100 years and looked for the factors that helped them lead long and healthy lives.

And surprise! As reported in Marketwatch.com

 “Walkable and bikeable streets and clean, accessible parks are linked to increasing physical activity of the surrounding population by 30%. Walkable neighborhoods are especially important for older adults who may have decreased mobility and no longer drive, as they are likely to benefit from easier access to their community afforded by walkable neighborhoods.”

Despite suggestions that the Covid pandemic is providing a short-term shift away from public transport and city living, the study shows that streets that are walkable and cyclable along with park proximity raise physical activity levels by 30 percent. Neighbourhoods planned with good walkability are vital to older adults with mobility issues and who must often walk or take transit to complete basic shopping.

People living in cities do walk more, have good access to nutritious food and health clinics and have lower body weights. There’s one part of the study that is also fascinating~higher education is not necessarily a factor in living to 100 years.

You can download  the original study that was published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health here.



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  1. Not sure of the neighborhood per se matters, but that you actually walk daily.

    We aim for 5km.

    Of course a walkable neighborhood is inducive to walking, but if you live in a neighborhood where most shops are a car ride away (i.e. low walk core) you can still walk.

    I like the website / blog Blue Zones .. many insights, research and links on aging there .. incl walking, food choices, social contacts etc

    Some links here https://www.google.com/search?q=blue+zones+walkability

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