When choosing a new home or even a property investment, you don’t just look at the price and the location: you also try to find a neighbourhood that creates a desirable lifestyle.
It’s easier to engage in outdoor activities if the right facilities are just a stone’s throw away. For instance, if the suburb you live in has bicycle lanes and nearby parks, then you’re more likely to hop on your bike or walk down to the park.
With a healthier lifestyle goal in mind, here are five tips on what to consider when looking for a happy and healthy neighbourhood:
1. Look for lush greenery
You may think of trees as merely ornamental, but the truth is, tree canopies make the environment cooler – not to mention beautiful to look at. This means your air conditioning systems won’t have to work double time, especially in the summer, translating to lower energy expenses.
It’s also great to live in a neighbourhood with easy access to greenways, community gardens, parks and trails, as walking is one of the easiest ways to maintain an active lifestyle. What’s more, studies show that walking through lush, green spaces can lower your stress levels.
2. Look for bike paths and sidewalks
A neighbourhood with wide sidewalks is one that encourages an active lifestyle. This is because people living in walkable neighbourhoods – ones that have good sidewalks, safe traffic and low crime rates – tend to walk more, encouraging more outdoor activity.
The same goes for people living near a great network of bike paths. It may also inspire you to bike to and from your destination when you see other people doing the same.
3. Make sure there are accessible healthy destinations
If you live within walking distance to a grocery store, then you have easy access to fresh produce, and you may be more motivated to eat healthily. In fact, studies have shown that an additional grocery store within a small suburb can increase produce consumption by 32%.
Having a gym nearby can also inspire you to exercise more. If you prefer indoor activities, group fitness classes like Zumba and kickboxing can help you keep a workout regimen. Other healthy destinations you might want to look for include sports courts, playgrounds, parks, and pools.
4. Look for opportunities to interact with your neighbours
Your physical health is not the only thing that needs to be taken care of. Living in a close-knit community can enhance your emotional and mental well-being, and create a safe and supportive environment for raising children.
You can foster good emotional health by connecting with your neighbours in community parks, libraries, coffee shops, and even neighbourhood association meetings.
5. Prioritise safety
If you want to walk, cycle, or interact with people in your neighbourhood, safety should obviously be of utmost priority. All these activities won’t be possible if you run the risk of getting mugged on the streets, so look for low crime rates, vibrant strips of commerce and a safe neighbourhood setting.