Who wouldn’t want to live a long, happy and healthy life? Evidence has shown that physical activity is an important precondition to achieve this goal. Active people have an improved performance at school and work, a better self-image and generally participate in more dynamic social networks.
Physical activity also helps to reduce lifestyle related chronic illnesses such as diabetes type 2, obesity and heart disease. An enhanced healthy life expectancy reduces the need for clinical treatment and thereby decreases the burden on our health care system.
Despite the multitude of obvious advantages of physical activity, it is human nature to save metabolic energy. Through evolution we have developed energy-saving measures, of which inactivity is but one. Technological progress has supercharged this innate behavior, outsourcing physical activity to countless innovations in work and play.
ACTIVE DESIGN AND BUILDINGS
We could reverse the trend by exercising on a regular basis, but not everyone has the required discipline to do so. Luckily our daily routines offer plenty of opportunities to enhance physical activity. These opportunities can be identified, amplified, their frequency increased, stimulating physical activity and creating impact.
Buildings are a good place to start to make small changes in our daily routines, after all this is where most people spend more than 90% of their time. However architecture has been anything but instrumental for the active lifestyle. Modernity has brought us an architecture dominated by the efficient allocation of (economic) resources, rather than the physiological or psychological needs of the human being.