Category Archives: Health

This article is only available on our Norwegian site.

This article is only available on our Norwegian site.

This article is only available on our Norwegian site.
In February, Abigail Claflin from Center for Active Design in New York, visited the Trondheim Smart Healthy City conference. Center for Active Design works with how our environments shape the way we behave, and how to design buildings and open spaces to help us get moving.
The Arbor House is one of their projects, an apartment building located in a part of New York with low income, and a high number of activity-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Arbor House incorporates a variety of Active Design strategies to combat these issues by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, while still offering housing at an affordable rate;
Slower elevators give more stair climbing
Who really needs elevators? The response was that people that really need the elevators are used to spending time when they move around, and could manage with slower elevators. To avoid that people who can use the stairs turn “lazy” and use the elevators, Center for Active Design chose to reduce the speed of the Arbor House elevators.
Accessible and inviting fitness opportunities
The architects of the Arbor House have focused on giving residents fitness opportunities, both inside and outside. With open, colourful fitness spaces, the house is designed to invite in residents of all ages and with different levels of physical shape.
Stair prompt
Visible, well-lit and open stairways
The Arbor House focuses a lot on the stairs as a means to stay active and fit. The stairs are visible from the main entrance. The entry doors of the stairs in each floor are also transparent, to promote visibility into the stairways and improve the lighting along the stairs. Lastly, the stairway is filled with beautiful paintings and music, and the outside of the stairs give prompts to encourage people to choose the stairs over the elevator.
Rooftop farm provides home-grown vegetables and herbs
The most prominent feature of the Arbor House, is the 1000 m^2 rooftop farm, where vegetables and herbs are grown, in the middle of New York. Here, all residents can purchase home-grown vegetables and herbs, both stimulating a better diet, and acting as a nice place to (climb the stairs to) visit. The farm sells 40% of its produce to nearby schools and hospitals.
When to retire? Today, many elderly feel forced out of their jobs in Norway when turning 70. One of the reasons for this is that the Norwegian protection against termination does not apply to people aged 70 and over, and that public employees are forced to leave their jobs at 70. This is a question with several sides – both socioeconomic and political – but also a question of public health, as we in AssiStep are most concerned with. Here are five reasons why we should let (and encourage) elderly to continue working:

1. If you work, you take part in society
Friends and family are among the most important factors of being content and active; if you have someone to see, you get out of your home. Staying employed gives you a larger social circle, and you get to meet new, interesting colleagues.

2. Working is staying active
If you need to go to work, you have to get out of your home to participate. Often we talk about the perils of sitting too much at work – but that depends what we would have done otherwise – many, especially elderly, will get more activity from going to work than staying at home.

3. Working prevents dementia
Physical exercise promotes physical health – but did you know that mental exercise promotes mental health? If you work – you need to learn new things and solve problems – which gives you mental exercise to prevent dementia.

4. No matter the age, unemployment is associated with social issues.
For people in all ages, unemployment is a predictor of issues like loneliness, bad health, more (unnecessary) medication and more medical treatment. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that elderly experience the same issues, with many being unemployed the last 20-30 years of their lives

5. Working promotes sense of empowerment
To succeed and feel useful, is important to us. If we manage to contribute, solve issues and be of value to others, it increases the chance of us continuing to challenge ourselves – either at work, or in our spare time.

Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment this blogpost below!