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Neighbourhood Walkability

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, Jun 29th, 2016

walking

Most of us are not getting enough exercise and most of us know this is bad for our health. University of Calgary Associate Professor of Medicine Gavin McCormack says 20 percent of adults are not getting the recommended level of physical activity necessary to achieve optimal health.

This lack of exercise, says Professor McCormack is increasing our risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, depression and even some cancers. But new research, says Professor McCormack suggests the type of neighbourhood you live in can make a big difference. The idea is people need to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. For example, if you’re walking the kids to school, walking to the transit stop, cycling to work or strolling to the neighbourhood coffee shop, physical activity is built into your day. Research also shows people struggle to maintain and sustain planned physical activities like exercise classes and trips to the gym. Professor McCormack says physical activity needs to be part of every day life.

Even if your neighbourhood is currently not that walkable, Professor McCormack says improvements can be made. He suggests making walking areas more aesthetically pleasing, adding parks and more 4 way intersections to slow down traffic, making sure there are sidewalks on both sides of the street and increasing access to transit stops.

If neighbourhoods are more walkable, the people living in these communities will be healthier in the long run and this healthier lifestyle will affect generations to come.

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