(StatePoint) Small changes to your surroundings can have a strong impact on mood and overall health, say experts. A relatively new movement in design and construction, called “designing for health,” aims to make homes and communities have positive impacts on the way people live, work and play.
“Encouraging movement, social interaction and physical health can address problems like obesity and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Thoughtful design and home improvements can solve these issues,” says Cyril Stewart, President at Cyril Stewart, LLC and member of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Design and Health Leadership Group.
Spaces that promote movement -- walkable and livable communities -- are an idea gaining steam, as noted by the AIA’s most recent Home Design Trends Survey. Increasingly, designers and developers are creating pedestrian-friendly communities with access to recreational activities.
Want to foster healthy, active spaces in your own home and community? Stewart is offering a few tips:
Extend the Home
Adding porches, patios or balconies improves access to the outside world. This provides great health benefits, ranging from maximizing natural light to extending living spaces.
“Many people retrofit homes with these amenities, to allow for more space and fresh air and improve ventilation,” says Stewart.
Add Strategic Seating
Strategic seating is another interesting trend design professionals are employing to encourage movement in and around a home or community.
For example, public seating in the middle of spaces that mix residential, dining and entertainment establishments ensure people need to get up and walk to those services before enjoying them. In other communities, areas designated for more quiet activities, like reading, are on the rise.
Ensure your bedroom promotes healthy sleep by making it a tranquil place. If possible, avoid sleeping in a room that is along a busy street.
Install soundproof windows and use drapes. And leave the entertainment center out of your bedroom. It’s hard to get quality sleep alongside the lights and sound of the television.
Breathe Quality Air
An easy, but often overlooked solution for ensuring better health, is keeping air quality high. Fresh air aids sleep and lessens the occurrence of diseases like asthma. Simple ways to improve air quality include:
• Finding the optimum setup to promote fresh air flow and ventilation in a building
• Regularly replacing and cleaning filters on air conditioners and heating systems
• Confirming radon and carbon monoxide detectors are present and in working order
These are just a few examples of how design can affect health. For help implementing these ideas or to find recommendations for your home or community, an architect can help you decide what would work best. To find an architect in your area, visit http://ArchitectFinder.aia.org.
When it comes to home upgrades and interior decorating decisions, you can make your health a top consideration alongside visual appeal and functionality.
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