Knowledge - RISC

Active Living: A new residential innovation for better health

Created By RISC | 2 months ago

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The world in this era of globalization is full of advanced technologies in engineering, computers, communications, and transportation, and these technologies have exerted great influence on our lives and have changed the way we live. This is because we are naturally predisposed to lifestyles of convenience, which causes us to put in minimal effort and become lazy to the point where a less physically active daily routine becomes a habit. For example, we sit at computers all day long without moving our bodies, we use escalators or lifts to get upstairs, we even have drive-in fast-food restaurants that mean we don't have to get out of the car to eat! 

Walking not only allows our bodies to burn calories, but it also reduces muscle tension. If we don’t move our bodies on a regular basis our health becomes weakened, our muscles grow feeble, our immunity decreases and fat becomes stored in our bodies causing obesity and other related illnesses in our circulatory system such as heart attacks, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, allergies and many more. The World Health Organization has said that heart attacks and clogged arteries are the leading causes of death globally, resulting in the deaths of as many as 17.1 million people in 2004, or 29% of all causes of death in that year. 

‘Active Living’ is therefore an important model for innovative living because it encourages regular physical activity in our daily lives. However, it is different from exercising. Exercising encourages the body to sweat and burn calories over a short space of time and it is a burden in that we have to find time to do it. Active Living encourages body movement in accordance with our daily activities, i.e. physical activity we can incorporate as we go about everyday life. This can include walking, riding a bicycle, and doing housework, which is less tiring but can burn calories and fat in our bodies as efficiently as dedicated daily exercise. This concept is playing an increasingly important role in our lives and has been applied to the design of city environments and architecture so that they are both attractive and functional in that they encourage people to be active. Examples include the use of interactive technologies and designs in lights, color schemes, and materials to attract people to use certain spaces or encourage people to feel like using stairs, walkways, and cycling paths.

This concept inspires residential innovation for good health in an active way by integrating the concept into residential designs. For example, designing passageways inside homes to allow natural light into buildings, having good air circulation, and painting interiors with colors that help encourage positive feelings (hot tones help stimulate the heart and movement, for example). If space allows, passageways can be designed as a graded ramp at a 1:12 ratio (this also applies to horizontal walkways and vertical steps) and connect to the various rooms in a way that encourages all three age groups of residents to move an appropriate distance. Furniture that helps to support body movements during work or leisure time is also important. Additionally, the surface of the building can provide space for play or sports activities to encourage exercise or body movements, including climbing, swings, and other wall-ball games. Besides encouraging movement inside the house, providing storage space for outdoor equipment such as a bicycle also encourages the resident to use peddle power instead of a car, which is good for health and the environment in general. These are just some examples of innovative designs that can be incorporated into buildings to promote a more active lifestyle.

“Good health comes from a strong body”

Creative architectural design can provide an 'Active Living' environment – new residential innovations that help promote good health in an active way, based on the idea that prevention is better than cure. If our health is inherently strong enough to fight sickness, it can reduce both the long and short term potential for health problems, particularly as environmental conditions continue to get worse. 

Sapmanee Chaisaensuk

R&D Department, DT Groups



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