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Planning’s links to active living for older adults Atva, Tina Desiree

Abstract

Planners do not seem to recognize the significance o f their role in facilitating active living for older adults. Active living is a way o f life that values and integrates physical activity into daily life. Most Canadians, and particularly older adults, are not active enough to obtain health benefits. With the number and proportion of older adults set to increase significantly in Canada over the coming decades, there is an urgent need for planners to help eliminate barriers to active living. This project uses qualitative research methods to explore planning's links to active living for older adults. Through interviews and a literature review, four broad areas o f current planning action are identified. These areas are: 1) research, policies and plans, 2) housing and neighbourhoods, 3) walking and cycling and 4) streets and plazas. Planners should create more active living opportunities in these areas as well as through inclusive processes and building design. The problems associated with sedentary lifestyles may be addressed by such efforts and by strengthening partnerships within the active living community. Additional research and evaluation of planning endeavours are also necessary. Planners concerned about healthy and sustainable communities must embrace their role in increasing the activity levels of older Canadians.

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