- Written by Vittoria Traverso for the BBC
- Staying healthy is difficult but many cities around the world have figured out some interesting ways to encourage elderly people to stay active!
- Traverso reports, “In 2014 Jay Maddock, a professor of public health at Texas A&M University in the US, was on a research trip to China when one aspect of local culture caught his attention. ‘I took a walk to a park near my hotel in the city of Nanchang and noticed hundreds of elderly people exercising together,’ he says.”
- After conducting further research into eight specific parts in Nanchang, Maddock told BBC, “We found that more than 50% of users are older adults…In the US no study has ever found more than 15%.”
- Why are these adults exercising at a higher rate than counterparts from various parts of the world? “The morning exercise habit of elderly Chinese people has its roots in longstanding cultural tradition, says Elisabeth Hsu, a professor of anthropology at Oxford University. Guidelines about waking up early are found in the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon), a book containing medical knowledge from the 3rd Century BC onwards that is considered the pillar of traditional Chinese medicine. The collective aspect of exercise probably goes back to group exercise promoted by the government in the 1950s when today’s elders were growing up, she adds.”
- Since exercise has not been heavily encouraged in many people’s lives elsewhere, experts have found that “Accessibility is also key.” Not only do the locations of parks and equipment need to be easily accessed, but including instructions with each machine available is important.
- Even beyond location and accessible machines, park design is an important element as well. The article states, “Yet Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, a professor of urban planning at University of California Los Angeles who has studied park use among the elderly across different countries, says that although culture does play a role, it is park location, design and amenities that most influence use among senior citizens. ‘Often older adults feel not welcome in parks that are primarily designed for younger populations,’ she says. ‘In other words, parks are not psychologically accessible to them.’”
- The article went on to say, “Loukaitou-Sideris’ findings echo the observations gathered by Maddock in his study of parks in Nanchang. ‘The parks we studied are not designed for younger users,’ he says. ‘We did not see any basketball [hoops] or baseball fields but rather walking trails and machines tailored for adults.’”
- Málaga, Spain has at least 400 playgrounds designed for senior citizens. However, “…according to Rafael Merino-Marbán, a professor of physical education at the University of Málaga, many are currently underused. ‘The government has not studied the right location or the right kind of machine to maximise effectiveness,’ he says, adding that a more detailed study about users’ needs is currently underway as part of a European Union project aimed at boosting exercise among the elderly.”
- The article goes on to say, “Apart from location, Merino-Marbán cites proximity to children’s playgrounds, damaged equipment and fear of being judged as barriers that can deter elderly people from exercising in public playgrounds. ‘When it comes to fear of being judged, design can help,’ Maddock notes. ‘In China exercise areas are often located in small groves that are separated from the rest of the park, minimising the number of spectators.’”
- Even though the playgrounds in Málaga may be underused, “an average of 50,000 people use Málaga’s senior playgrounds every week. Going forward, [Merino-Marbán] hopes that the government will install more, and better designed, playgrounds in other cities. “If older people exercise more, they are healthier,” he says, “And that means less costs for public healthcare.”
- “Reduced healthcare cost is what Maddock cites as one of the key reasons to make senior playgrounds a staple feature of urban design. ‘More and more studies show that elderly people need exercise, social connection and nature,’ he says. ‘Senior parks are a really low-cost investment that hit each of these three aspects.’”
Homeslice: Texas Edition
- Written by Maria Halkias for The Dallas Morning News on Oct 26th
- Sunday, Oct 20th saw at least 9 tornadoes touch down in Dallas causing a ton of damage
- There have been zero reports of deaths which is amazing considering how densely populated the areas are where the tornadoes wreaked havoc
- One particular Home Depot close to a major highway going straight through Dallas was completely destroyed by the only F3 tornado that touched down
- The Assistant Store Manager working the night of the tornadoes was busy doing his normal thing when he got alerts on his phone that the weather was getting really bad
- He told The Dallas Morning News that normally he ignores these alerts but this time, he decided to act on the information
- Now the personal tie I have to this story, besides living in Dallas, is that I went to elementary school with this manager
- His name is Jordan Jasper and he was my first valentine in second grade!
- DMN reports, “A few employees who live in Lancaster and in Dallas near Wheatland Road had a long drive ahead of them, he said.
“It wasn’t closing time, and there were a few customers still in the store. Jasper and eight other workers spread through the aisles to help them finish their shopping. After everyone was out, Jasper says he remembers that when he set the store alarm, the clock read 8:42 p.m. Everyone made it home safely, including Jasper, who was worried about his wife and three children, ages 5 and younger.
“‘I didn’t jump in front of a car or anything,’ said Jasper, who’s 31. ‘I just told our associates to go home early so they wouldn’t be caught up in the bad weather.’”
- The tornado touched down at 9:30pm. Normally the employees stay until about 9pm to 9:30pm wrapping up shutting down shop
- Knowing when to act on weather alerts in our area (and most areas I would guess) is really tough because you just don’t know how bad it’s going to get
- DMN reported, “A store in Joplin, Mo., was the last total loss for Home Depot due to weather. That 2011 tornado took 161 lives. Seven people died in the store, including one Home Depot employee.”
- It is always hard to know what to do because you never know when a tornado is going to happen
- Since the store was destroyed, the employees have been able to pick up hours in other Home Depots across the DFW area
- Jasper told DMN that he, “exchang[ed] 13,000 text messages since Sunday night alone,” at the time this article was posted.
- When crazy things like this happen, Home Depot asks for the American flag that flies in front of the store to keep in their museum in Atlanta, GA to honor the people affected by the event
- But instead of the flag going to the museum, Jasper who sent everyone home safely that night was gifted that flag
- DMN reports, “‘Tears, tears, I was crying,’ he said. ‘It was emotional for me. I’d been running around taking care of our associates, trying to be my manager’s right-hand man and get our kindergartner off to school. Here I was standing in front of 500 associates.’”
- Even after the store was destroyed and during the shift shuffle, the Home Depot employees were out in neighborhoods helping to clean up debris
- Jordan was always such a sweet guy and I am immensely proud of his courageous actions that saved so many people, possibly even saved lives
Thanks for listening and we can’t wait for the new season! If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to us! We’ve got an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at us @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. GO BINGE ON SOME JOY!
The music for this podcast is “Industrious Ferret” by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!