Building New Environments for Healthier Routines



Park-deCordova Photo courtesy of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

A trend towards technology driven, less active American lifestyles has resulted in a heavy and unhealthy nation. Busy families are surrounded by fast-food restaurants instead of farmers’ markets and grocery stores with fresh produce. Desk jobs keep Americans sedentary and, in neighborhoods deemed unsafe, residents are less likely to get regular exercise by walking after work or on the weekends. If it’s true that a person’s environment can shape their health as significantly as genetics, then these scenarios have got to change.

Recently, the concept of a “Built Environment” has arisen to remedy the problem. It involves the purposeful development of a city, community space or designated green space with the goal of increasing community health. Built environments encourage inhabitants to walk more, move more and, sometimes, to perform more laborious work. Adding art to a park or green space is one way to create a built environment, and the deCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is such a place. With a large selection of eye-catching outdoor sculptures, the park offers visitors an afternoon of exploration and enjoyable walking.

City planners and public health researchers around the United States have applied the built environment concept to public parks and walkways. By strategically placing artwork along a path, a relaxing day in the park turns into a pleasant walk. This slight but significant change in design may go unnoticed by visitors, but the positive health implications include more calories burned, more minutes of light-to-moderate exercise performed and a healthier community.

Building healthy environments includes making new decisions about our existing surroundings and routines. Parking further away from work or home and walking the difference is one example. In fact, people can often save money by walking to work or school, or parking in a separate garage or an offsite parking lot. Walking on a daily basis can significantly improve health, and making physical activity a natural part of one’s daily activities can result in weight loss, greater fitness and increased energy for the workday. Regular exercise also prevents heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and even certain types of cancer.

By making exercise and healthy food choices easy, enjoyable and accessible, American families have a better chance at reversing the alarming rates of preventable diseases.

Dr. Eric Roseen is a chiropractic physician at Visions HealthCare, with locations at 170 Worcester St., in Wellesley, and 910 Washington St., in Dedham. For more information, call 781-431-1333 or visit VisionsHealthCare.com
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Hiking and Walking Trails Near Boston

Many walking and hiking routes in and around Boston include gentle hills to climb for views of the city skyline and miles of trails along the rivers and bay.

Physicality, Embodiment and Yoga

Yoga can reconnect the body to its wisdom when the whole body is being listened to, regardless of which body part is being stretched or strengthened.

The Energetic Effects of Yoga

Many people enjoy the physical as well as mental benefits of exercise and an increasing number of people are incorporating yoga into their exercise lives.

Yoga and The Alexander Technique Unite Body and Mind in Practice

When it comes to fitness and exercising, most people have been influenced by a cultural conditioning that emerged in the 19th century.

Yoga Practice for the Teen Body, Mind and Spirit

Yoga may give teens a chance to find peace and harmony within themselves.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Tips for Housebreaking Dogs

When housebreaking a dog, the initial work invested early on is well worth the time and effort.

CitySide Subaru: Caring for Animals and the Environment

CitySide Sabaru has a special fondness for four-legged creatures and a concern for the environment.

PittieLove Rescue Information Day in Westborough

On Saturday, August 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Especially for Pets, in Westborough, is holding an Adoption Information Day with PittieLove Rescue.

Probiotics Replenish Good Bacteria and Good Health

If there is one natural supplement that most doctors are recommending these days, it is a well-sourced probiotic.

Building New Environments for Healthier Routines

Purposeful development of a city, community space or designated green space increases community health.

Altering the Chemistry of Cancer With Food

Any holistic approach to battling cancer should consider the science behind cancer’s survival.