New Garage, Healthier Life?
New Garage, Healthier Life?
Garages can be ideal places for social connection.
In the early 1960's, researchers noticed that the residents of the small town of Roseto, PA had significantly lower rates of heart disease and other health problems compared to the surrounding towns. This led to a study conducted by Dr. Stewart Wolf, a physician and epidemiologist, and his team at the University of Oklahoma. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1961, which was the first to draw attention to the paradox of Roseto, a town where the rate of death from heart disease was much lower than expected.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the tight-knit community and strong sense of social support in Roseto were major contributing factors to the residents' good health. The study found that the people of Roseto had a strong sense of community, with a close-knit network of families and friends, and a deep sense of tradition and culture. The study also found that the Rosetans had a strong sense of belonging and shared values, which helped to create a sense of social cohesion and support.
The idea behind the Roseto Effect is that social connections and support can have a significant impact on a person's physical and mental well-being. The study found that people who had strong social connections had a lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, and that people who had a sense of social isolation had a higher risk of these conditions. The study also found that people with a sense of social isolation had a higher risk of depression and anxiety, and that people with strong social connections had a lower risk of these conditions.
Today, most of us focus on improving our backyard, decks, or patios spaces. However, while these spaces generally provide a sense of seclusion and privacy (outside the occasional parties we host), it often leads to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the community. There is no room for those chance encounters to interact with those we live right beside year-after-year. Rather, most social functions in these spaces require some form of
coordination (which is probably why they don't happen that frequently for most homeowners).
Unlike Roseto, most newer homes today have small front porches or none at all. What almost all new homes do have are garages. Maybe we should consider utilizing these as "America's New front porch?": They are large space perfect for gathering, they have a great deal of protection from the elements, and often they are oriented towards the street to enable encounters with neighbors passing by.
But garages are dirty and unappealing, some would say: I park my cars there, I don't want to hang-out there! While this may be the case right now, there are many affordable options that can quickly transform this large space within your home from something you just park in, to a brand new room (plus it's a lot cheaper and easier than patios, decks, and landscaping).
One great option is a polyaspartic garage floor. Not only is it a durable and low maintenance (that can stand up to heavy foot traffic, spills and stains, and extreme temperatures) but it also looks fantastic! Once you see one, you'll understand why people would want to spend time there!
Back to the Roseto Effect, it behooves us (and our health) to look and find more opportunities for social connection. Given how modern American houses are constructed, the home garage (renovated to become a dream space) is a ideal option to achieve that end. Not only is it cost effect and quick, but it can transform a largely wasted space in your home to a place for connection and countless other uses!