Living in an urban environment with walking areas favors healthy aging
A study by Carmen Miralles from the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB) and Oriol Marquet, from the Department of Geography at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, suggests that the typology of the urban environment, and not just factors such as sex and age, influence the number of movements of the elderly and, therefore, the levels of physical activity during their walks.
The research, published in Social Science & Medicine, was conducted in 164 municipalities of the metropolitan area of Barcelona through a wide survey of 12,000 people living in areas classified as 'vital' (very transited with amenities, facilities and services nearby) and 'non vital' (isolated, dispersed and less traveled).
The results confirm that living in a vital urban environment contributes to creating habits of healthy mobility, given that the proximity to the destinations and the presence of people walking down the street encourages seniors to go out of the house more, which involves walking more often and for more minutes than those living in 'non-vital' areas.
This direct relationship between the vitality/'walkability' of the neighborhood and active aging have a more marked impact on older men than in women. Specifically, in the 'non-vital' neighborhoods, 20% of men over 75 are 'motionless' people (do not leave home) while in the 'vital' the figure drops to 13%. Similarly, men living in areas considered as 'vital' made 11.3% more trips every day than those living in more isolated areas.
More steps on each movement
Those over 65 who live in 'vital' neighborhoods walk for 76.7% of the movements, a figure that drops to 56.8% in the 'non-vital' areas. By contrast, the private car is used only 10.2% of movements originated in the 'vital' neighborhoods, while the figure rises to 20.3% for the 'non vital' districts.
The results show that men walk more minutes than women (86.6 versus 57.7 minutes respectively). Living in a 'vital' environment means walking up to 20% more, as an average of 4.8 more minutes a day are spent on movements on foot (72.1 minutes in vital areas and 67.3 minutes in non-vital ).
At the end of the week, these residents have walked nearly 34 minutes more. In this way, you can establish that those living in 'vital' neighborhoods are more likely to achieve the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to walk 30 minutes a day to ensure an active and healthy aging
Source: Al Dia, Noticias al Dia, Infomed.