February 10, 2005

Yes, People Get More Exercise In Walkable Communities

A study has proven what we've known intuitively for some time: People do a lot more "incidental walking" when their living environment is pedestrian-friendly.

"Metro Atlanta residents in dense residential areas with many connected streets and a mixture of shops were 'more likely to meet the Surgeon General's recommendations' on physical activity than those outside Atlanta's Interstate 285 perimeter, said Larry Frank, a former Georgia Institute of Technology researcher who now is an associate professor of community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia," Associated Press reports.

The study looked at physical activity of 357 adults in and around Atlanta, and found that "those who lived in neighborhoods with nearby shops and services were 2.4 times more likely than suburbanites" to get 30 or more minutes of physical activity each day.

And it wasn't because they were more likely to go to the gym or go out exercise walking/running; it was "mainly because many of their daily chores - such as going to the grocery store, dropping of dry cleaning or dining - involve walking to places closest to them," AP notes.

Thanks to Timothy Lee for passing along the link!

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