Staying in shape is all about eating right and hitting the gym regularly, right? Yes, but there are other factors at play, too. Such as where you live.
Where You Live Matters!
Dozens of studies over the past few decades have clearly shown that the type of town and neighborhood you live in make a difference when it comes to being physically active.
Grid v Cul-De-Sacs
For example, researchers have found a strong link between neighborhoods with connected streets laid out on a grid and physical activity. Which makes sense.
In neighborhoods with lots of cul‑de‑sacs and streets that don't connect, people are less likely to walk or ride a bike to do errands or go shopping, simply because there are fewer places to walk or ride to.
In neighborhoods where the streets connect, it's easier to get to a shopping district on bike or by walking.
Commercial Land Use Is Important Too
Along the same lines, studies show that the best neighborhoods for exercise are those with a mixture of residential and commercial land use.
If you live in a subdivision with only family homes, there's a good chance the nearest commercial area is far enough away so that you have to drive to get there.
But if there are stores and other shops either mixed right in with houses, or at least nearby, then you're more likely to get some exercise by walking or biking around town instead of driving.
Be Healthy Where You Live
So being healthy is in many ways a matter of making smart choices about food and being physically active. But choosing a healthy place to live is part of the picture, too.
Read More: Obesity, physical activity, and the urban environment: public health research needs (ncbi)