IS YOUR HOME KILLING YOU? TIME TO GET MOVING
Building activity into your place will mean a longer and healthier life for everyone, writes Chelsea Clark
Look hard enough anywhere large groups of people gather and, one at a time, you’ll see them surreptitiously glancing down at their wrists.
No, they’re not desperately counting down the minutes — they’re keeping track of their daily step count.
We’re fast becoming a society obsessed with fitness, even as obesity rates rise.
Countless studies have shown sitting for long periods of time can be just as harmful to our health as smoking.
And it seems we’re finally getting the message that being active every day is the key to a healthy life.
The good news is being active doesn’t have to mean training for a marathon or hours spent at the gym.
The Heart Foundation and World Health Organisation say 10,000 steps a day is all it takes to improve health and reduce our risk of heart disease.
But while many large corporations are redesigning their spaces to promote more activity around the office to improve health outcomes for their staff, design principles for the home remain relatively unchanged.
For years homes have been designed with convenience top of mind — the open-plan layout is a perfect example of a floorplan that means you barely have to get up to move from the couch to the dining table.
While it’s a great concept in theory, when it comes to promoting activity throughout the day, this convenience might not be so helpful to our health in the longer term.
“Homes are designed to reduce the amount of movement as convenience tends to take precedence,” says builder Daniel Mazzei, director of Mazzei Homes.
“Current design theory would suggest that if you had to walk a long way from your kitchen to your meals area, for example, then it would be considered to be poorly designed workspace.
“But there have been a number of campaigns over the past few years promoting best practice guidelines for (activity in) large urban spaces and I think it’s likely we’ll see more over the coming years concerning individual dwellings.”
Take the stairs
One of the easiest ways you can promote more activity in your home through design is with the installation of stairs.
This multi-level garden designed by Secret Gardens of Sydney keeps people moving.