Active Ageing Environments: Embedding physical activity around the place we live

Lives are increasingly sedentary with more time spent indoors and on screens. As we get older lack of physical activity leads to poorer health outcomes. This project engages with industry to better design our physical domestic environment and build opportunities for physical activity into everyday life. How we plan green spaces, walking and cycling connections, and community facilities all have the potential to increase health in our communities.


Catalyst R2

Lead Organisation

Sheffield Hallam University


Yorkshire and The Humber


Creating healthy Active places, Sustaining Physical Activity

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About the project

Physical activity has been engineered out of our lives; mechanisation, automation and digitisation have left us sedentary, indoors and tied to our screens. Physical inactivity adversely effects health, mental wellbeing and quality of life at all ages and across all sectors of society. As our population ages the cumulative effects of this lack of physical activity, movement and connection with the outdoors is severely detrimental to average healthy life expectancy. Midlife and older adults represent the most inactive portion of the population.

If people have appropriate information, opportunities and tools at the right time they have higher levels of activation, tend to experience better health and engage in healthier behaviours. The built environment impacts our health and wellbeing as it affords opportunities to be physically active in the spaces between and around buildings. Good design creates physical activity opportunities through access to green spaces, walking and cycling connections and links to community facilities.

The national housing shortage will be met by developers driven by profit, delivering thousands of houses in the same mould. We intend to show that the return on investment in better design, will increase their profits while also improving health. By creating better, more desirable places to live, the value of land and houses increases. By embedding opportunities for physical activity at the design stage, creating active aging environments, communities grow and grow healthier.


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