Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Post-Vocation Location Is Just Crucial

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Post-Vocation Location Is Just Crucial

Article excerpt

STAYING active hinges on where you live and the amenities you can access.

How fit you stay in retirement could depend on where you live.

If you want to keep active with everyday exercise, it's best to pick an area where you can walk to some of the conveniences you need, such as shops, doctors, public transport and parks, an associate professor at the University of NSW, Susan Thompson, says.

"There's a thing which is sort of like a circle for pedestrian accessibility, if you like," says Thompson, who is the co-director of the Healthy Built Environments Program at UNSW's City Futures Research Centre.

"It's a rule of thumb ... if you're located within 400 metres of all the sorts of things that you need then you'll be encouraged to walk. But 400 metres, it's not much at all; other [urban planning experts] talk about 800 metres - and then obviously going out to a kilometre."

Urban planners regard 400 metres as a notional five-minute walk and 800 metres as taking about 10 minutes.

If you are considering buying a property, Thompson suggests walking around the neighbourhood first "just to really have a good look at how easy it is".

Factors to consider are: does it feel safe? Is the local area comfortable to walk around? And are some essential services close enough? Are there cues in the environment that make you feel like you belong?

Another element to explore is whether there are good public amenities such as benches and public toilets - handy for long walks.

"Parks are really important and even just being able to view a green space and trees, there's a lot of research that indicates that's really important for us [health-wise]," Thompson says.

Public transport can be vital to providing independence, as well as keeping you healthy, by allowing you more opportunities to get out and about that don't depend on driving. …

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