Mason. Zee, Grimaldi, Reid, and Malkani’s research confirms that being in a space that has much light in it at night can be bad for our health. Their findings indicate the value of black out-type curtains at night, particularly in urban areas, and shielding patients in hospitals from nighttime light, for example. The Mason-lead team determined that “nighttime light exposure during sleep may affect metabolic function. . . . ‘a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance,’ said lead author . . . Mason. . . .
Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes
Sound and food choices
Kim, Park, and Hong investigated links between design and nonmotorized travel (for instance, walking and biking). They learned that “nonmotorized users tend to choose more clustered destinations than motorized users. . . .
Yang and colleagues studied how being around things that spur romance-related thoughts influences the consumption of sweet foods; space and object design can be romantic cues. The Yang lead team reports that they “examine[d] how exposure to romantic stimuli (e.g., watching a romantic ad, reading a romantic note) affects consumers’ subsequent consumption of sweets.” Via five experiments the researchers found that “the romantic stimuli exposure increases sweet food consumption among abstract thinkers but reduces sweet food intake among concrete thinkers.” So, the effects of the romantic st
Light levels influence what we think and do, sometimes in mysterious ways
Van Gestel and colleagues wanted to confirm that people can be encouraged to eat healthier foods by positioning them more prominently in retail checkout areas and their findings should influence retail design. The researchers studied “the effect of a food repositioning nudge on healthy food choice in a kiosk. During eight weeks, sales data were collected.
Legrand and colleagues have learned that exercising is good for the mental wellbeing of depressed people, whether those depressed people exercise indoors or outside. The research team determined that “short bouts [20 minutes long] of moderate-to-vigorous exercise [running at moderate intensity] were effective in improving feelings of energy among people with depressive symptoms. . . . the positive effects of exercise on feelings of energy did not depend on whether exercise took place in an outdoor nature setting or an indoor gym. . . .
Slimming kids, by design
Research linking listening to music while exercising with spending more time exercising has implications for soundscaping generally. The American College of Cardiology reports that “a study being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session [lead author Waseem Shami] suggests listening to music during a standard cardiac stress test can help extend the time someone is able to perform the test. . . .
Makkonen and colleagues studied how standing desks influenced the at-work experiences of employees at a software company. They determined that, among the employees of the Finnish software company where they collected data, “the usage of standing instead of sitting workstations results in only modest promotions of physical activity, does not have an effect on mental alertness . . . decreases musculoskeletal strain in the neck and shoulders, although increasing it in the legs and feet.” Using standing desks didn’t significantly affect employees’ satisfaction with their workstations.