“It’s really a massive shift that many of us haven’t thought of, but is inevitable.” –Ai-jen Poo, author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America
Whenever I’m leafing through a publication and see an advertisement for a senior community, there always seems to be an integration of “active living” in there somewhere. This seems natural. Exercise is a positive factor in any lifestyle. From the beginning to the end throughout all the changes we experience in our lifetimes, the need for exercise is a constant.
Ai-jen Poo discusses how we need to shift our value system and extend more care for the aging population on the Tavis Smiley show. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age we are going to experience a doubling of the population over the age of 65. Part of the preparation we can make for this change is to create healthy choices in our everyday mobility environments so people can easily integrate healthy activity into normal routines.
We know we need to exercise when we are young to develop strength and coordination. And when we are older exercise helps us maintain and rekindle youthful energy flows. In the middle years we often take our health for granted, but if we exercise, we get feedback on our status and are reminded how lucky we are to be able to be strong and in charge of our own mobility. Active transportation is a unifier across generations. It is critical to adapt our everyday transportation networks to encourage, facilitate and support healthy mobility choices.
The planning and implementation we do now to improve the walking and bicycling networks pays off for everyone. It is the best proactive investment people can make. The benefits are immediate and also show long term returns in all respects including social, economic and cultural. Exercise is uplifting for overall human well being. People bicycle and walk because it is healthy, makes us stronger, and is a whole lot of fun. It also helps improves the places that we live in. It is something we can share together. There are unexpected results too, such as increased innovation because of more face to face interactions and impromptu meetings while we are out and about. The jobs created for designing, building and improving the active transportation network are good ones, plus the product is one we can enjoy now and pass on to future generations as a positive legacy and inheritance.
Health is a primary consideration for planning out our normal everyday lifestyle and a primary driver for how we organize to support community success. If you have a chance I would highly recommend checking out Ai-jen’s interview, book, or other public engagements because she is a global leader with a rare combination. She is activist, organizer, and has break through communication skills. She uses the spotlight on the demographic changes we are experiencing to show that we are all in this together and tells us more about how we can work to prepare and make our lives better based on what we know is coming. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/activistauthor-ai-jen-poo-3/