Neighbourhood design helps seniors maintain cognitive health

Posted on November 14, 2014

Depending on which type of walking you’re interested in, a neighborhood might have different characteristics. Features of a neighborhood that encourage walking for transportation require having someplace worth walking to, like neighbors’ houses, stores, and parks.

The researcher, Amber Watts, Ph.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychology, judged walkability using geographic information systems — essentially maps that measure and analyze spatial data.

Watts said easy-to-walk communities resulted in better outcomes both for physical health — such as lower body mass and blood pressure — and cognition (such as better memory) in the people she tracked.

Complex environments may require more complex mental processes to navigate. Research findings suggest that people with neighborhoods that require more mental complexity actually experience less decline in their mental functioning over time. When the environment presents challenges that are reasonable and within a person’s ability level, it keeps their bodies and minds healthy.

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Source material from Psych Central

Mental Health News