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Walkable neighborhoods may be all the rage with younger generations, but there are plenty of reasons for aging adults to appreciate a pedestrian-friendly setting, too. If you’re intrigued by the idea of living where your own two feet can take you any place you’d like to go, a walkable senior living community may be the perfect fit for your retirement years.
Generally, a walkable neighborhood is one that not only offers clear and safe paths for pedestrians but actually favors those who travel by foot. Walkable neighborhoods typically offer quick, convenient commutes to desirable destinations like shopping, dining, and entertainment, as well as ample public green space. They create a holistic lifestyle so residents can obtain the goods and services they need within a walkable distance.
Although perhaps for slightly different reasons than their younger counterparts (who benefit from the smaller footprint while juggling work, families, and other demands), many seniors strongly favor walkable neighborhoods. One study found 82% of seniors consider walkability at least somewhat important, while 38% deem it “very important” or a “must have” in an independent living setting.
In some regards, choosing a walkable community is a highly personal lifestyle choice. However, there’s a growing body of research that shows multiple specific advantages associated with a walking way of life.
Picture yourself strolling down the sidewalk, nodding to fellow walkers, waving a cheerful hello to neighbors puttering in their yards as you pass, and perhaps even pausing for a chat with a friend or two along the way. This is the essence of a walking community, where the barriers created by enclosed motor vehicles are nonexistent and personal interaction is commonplace. It’s no wonder, then, that research shows people who live in walkable neighborhoods are more socially engaged and better acquainted with their neighbors. Another strong mark in favor of more foot traffic is the way it encourages socialization in seniors, whose overall wellness can be significantly affected by social connections (or a lack thereof).
Walking is one of the simplest forms of physical activity—one that can be easily adapted for pace and duration to meet your abilities, making it a good senior fitness activity. In a walkable neighborhood, you have plenty to see and do while walking, which makes getting out and exercising more enticing.
Fitness and better health go hand in hand. It may come as no surprise that living in a walkable community can help reduce obesity, but did you know it can also make a marked impact on your risk for serious health conditions? Research suggests that residents of walkable neighborhoods also have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Other walking benefits include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and even boosts in mood and memory.
If you’re concerned with protecting the earth for yourself and your offspring, you’ll be happy to realize that walking communities play a role in reducing the carbon footprint left by the auto industry. Researchers believe that even minor modifications, like walking instead of driving one day a week, can make a noticeable impact on carbon emissions, ultimately helping address the problem of climate change. On a smaller, more personal scale, fewer cars mean less noise and cleaner, fresher air for you and your loved ones to enjoy while exploring the destinations nestled within your neighborhood.
Choosing walking as your primary mode of transportation can also have significant financial ramifications. No car means no loan or lease payment, no maintenance expenses, and no more steadily rising insurance premiums. Another plus: Instead of pouring money into your gas tank, you can use it to fuel your local economy by visiting locally owned stores and restaurants.
The Oaks at Denville is a self-contained walkable campus, with numerous attractive amenities within easy reach. For those who want to enjoy more of what Denville, New Jersey, has to offer, the community is just a one-block walk away from Denville’s picturesque downtown. Learn more about The Oaks by contacting us today to schedule a tour.