5 tips for choos­ing a happy and healthy neigh­bour­hood

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Property Guide - - NEWS -

When choos­ing a new home or even a prop­erty investment, you don’t just look at the price and the lo­ca­tion: you also try to find a neigh­bour­hood that cre­ates a de­sir­able life­style.

It’s eas­ier to en­gage in out­door ac­tiv­i­ties if the right fa­cil­i­ties are just a stone’s throw away. For in­stance, if the sub­urb you live in has bi­cy­cle lanes and nearby parks, then you’re more likely to hop on your bike or walk down to the park. With a health­ier life­style goal in mind, here are five tips on what to con­sider when look­ing for a happy and healthy neigh­bour­hood:

1. Look for lush green­ery

You may think of trees as merely or­na­men­tal, but the truth is, tree canopies make the environment cooler – not to men­tion beau­ti­ful to look at. This means your air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems won’t have to work dou­ble time, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer, trans­lat­ing to lower en­ergy ex­penses. It’s also great to live in a neigh­bour­hood with easy ac­cess to green­ways, com­mu­nity gar­dens, parks and trails, as walk­ing is one of the eas­i­est ways to main­tain an ac­tive life­style. What’s more, stud­ies show that walk­ing through lush, green spaces can lower your stress lev­els.

2. Look for bike paths and side­walks

A neigh­bour­hood with wide side­walks is one that en­cour­ages an ac­tive life­style. This is be­cause peo­ple liv­ing in walk­a­ble neigh­bour­hoods – ones that have good side­walks, safe traf­fic and low crime rates – tend to walk more, en­cour­ag­ing more out­door ac­tiv­ity. The same goes for peo­ple liv­ing near a great net­work of bike paths. It may also in­spire you to bike to and from your desti­na­tion when you see other peo­ple do­ing the same.

3. Make sure there are ac­ces­si­ble healthy des­ti­na­tions

If you live within walk­ing dis­tance to a gro­cery store, then you have easy ac­cess to fresh pro­duce, and you may be more mo­ti­vated to eat healthily. In fact, stud­ies have shown that an ad­di­tional gro­cery store within a small sub­urb can in­crease pro­duce con­sump­tion by 32%.

Hav­ing a gym nearby can also in­spire you to ex­er­cise more. If you pre­fer in­door ac­tiv­i­ties, group fit­ness classes like Zumba and kick­box­ing can help you keep a work­out reg­i­men. Other healthy des­ti­na­tions you might want to look for in­clude sports courts, play­grounds, parks, and pools.

4. Look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­act with your neigh­bours

Your phys­i­cal health is not the only thing that needs to be taken care of. Liv­ing in a close-knit com­mu­nity can en­hance your emo­tional and men­tal well-be­ing, and cre­ate a safe and sup­port­ive environment for rais­ing chil­dren.

You can fos­ter good emo­tional health by con­nect­ing with your neigh­bours in com­mu­nity parks, li­braries, cof­fee shops, and even neigh­bour­hood as­so­ci­a­tion meet­ings.

5. Pri­ori­tise safety

If you want to walk, cy­cle, or in­ter­act with peo­ple in your neigh­bour­hood, safety should ob­vi­ously be of ut­most pri­or­ity. All th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties won’t be pos­si­ble if you run the risk of get­ting mugged on the streets, so look for low crime rates, vi­brant strips of com­merce and a safe neigh­bour­hood set­ting.

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