Plurilock Next Gen Cybersecurity
Trending >

Walking can lower risk of heart disease, so why don’t Canadians walk more?

Canadians walk

Why don’t Canadians walk more? There are some surprising reasons.

A new study from the Department of Geography at the University of Western Ontario looked into the reasons people give for not making walking a part of their weekly routines and found that not only do people list a wide variety of factors that prevent them from walking but that people within different demographic groups often appeal to the same sorts of reasons.

There are many reasons why Canadians don’t walk enough. Sometimes it’s a lifestyle issue -we’re too busy to find the time, for example- but often the barriers to walking are created by factors beyond our control, such as a lack of access to walkable spaces or a personal disability. We are far from being in need of more reminders of the health benefits of walking, but nevertheless, the Heart and Stroke Foundation says just 30 minutes of walking a day can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology puts walking front and centre in its Physical Activity Guidelines.

The new study looked at data from a Hamilton Active Living Study conducted between May and September 2010 which examined the activity lifestyles of Hamilton, Ontario’s adult population. 179 randomly selected adults were surveyed, with residents from all of Hamilton’s 24 neighbourhoods participating.

Responses varied across genders, as well, with females more often stating that they didn’t feel safe walking alone at night, that drivers often exceeded the speed limit or that existing walking routes were boring.

The results showed that members of various demographic groupings often appeal to the same sorts of reasons when asked to complete the statement, “It is difficult for me to walk more often because…”

Young adults aged 18 to 30, for example, were more often found to remark that their destinations were too far away, whereas seniors were more prone to say that they didn’t have anyone to walk with, that the street crossings were dangerous or that streets have poor lighting at night.

Low and middle income earners were found to more often report that they were not in good enough health to walk more or that there was too much crime in their neighbourhood.

Responses varied across genders, as well, with females more often stating that they didn’t feel safe walking alone at night, that drivers often exceeded the speed limit or that existing walking routes were boring.

And, interestingly, within those of Hamilton’s neighbourhoods considered to be highly walkable, residents listed the presence of crime as a common reason for not walking more often.

According to the study’s authors, the research is aimed at helping municipalities create more walkable neighbourhoods. “Understanding who is affected by perceived barriers can help policy makers and health promotion agencies target sub-groups of the population in an effort to increase walking,” say the authors.

According to Walk Score, the Seattle-based company that publishes walkability rankings of cities in Canada, the United States and Australia, Vancouver comes out as Canada’s most walkable city, with Toronto second, Montreal third and Mississauga and Ottawa rounding out the top five.

The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

More Cantech Science

  •  
  •  
  •  

About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RELATED POSTS