Do Ranch Homes Cause Health Problems?
More Pondering Than Proof
Let me first admit that I do not know the answer to this question. While I have searched for papers, analyses and research studies on this question, I can find nothing.
So I cannot prove, scientifically, whether ranch homes cause health issues. My assertion is: yes, they do. My contention comes not from the lab, but from observations of human nature and noting a particular mindset among some people. (An editor asked me to define “some people.” No patterns among the people I discuss below come to mind, but maybe the correct commonality hasn’t come to me yet.)
Most people, in my experience, move into ranch homes not when they are suffering significant health problems, but well before that time. The internal discussion goes like this. People hit “a certain age” and feel that “now’s the time to downsize into a ranch home.” They feel like the stairs will “soon” become a burden, and they do not want the “hassle” of stairs anymore. This dialogue starts well before health problems appear. Sometimes years in advance. Indeed, I have friends in their early-40s who recently moved into a ranch.
In observing these friends and others, I wonder whether they promote the very health problems they worry about. They have now fixed a mindset about themselves that they are people who should live in a ranch home. They now view themselves as incapable of climbing a set of eight to thirteen stairs two or three times per day. They now have the self-image that they are “old.”
In fixating their subconscious on these self-images, I wonder whether their minds and bodies react in accordance with that self-image. In assuming themselves “old,” do their bodies consequently adjust -- subtly, imperceptibly at first -- to be in conformance with that self-definition?
As I noted at the start, I can prove none of my assertions. What do you, dear reader, think? Do you know of evidence one way or the other? If so, please send it my way -- I would love to see any evidence, papers, and data. Perhaps they’ll urge me to further refine -- or altogether change -- my views on this question.
Good piece, Russell. We are definitely in this demo that will be looking to move to a ranch, but only partly for the reason you cite. Yes, I am tired of climbing two sets of stairs every day, particularly when I forget something on the first or third floors. But I have always loved ranches because they support family interactions. For me, having everyone on the same floor promotes togetherness and family cohesion. Frank Lloyd Wright was big on this - which is why he designed such small bedrooms that would only fit beds. There's something harmonious about all being on one level. I think you can covet this lifestyle while remaining active in other areas of your life (see: Russell's rucking adventures).