Nav: Home

Why walking to work may be better for you than a casual stroll

August 12, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Walking with a purpose - especially walking to get to work - makes people walk faster and consider themselves to be healthier, a new study has found.

The study, published online earlier this month in the Journal of Transport and Health, found that walking for different reasons yielded different levels of self-rated health. People who walked primarily to places like work and the grocery store from their homes, for example, reported better health than people who walked mostly for leisure.

"We found that walking for utilitarian purposes significantly improves your health, and that those types of walking trips are easier to bring into your daily routine," said Gulsah Akar, an associate professor of city and regional planning in The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture.

"So, basically, both as city planners and as people, we should try to take the advantage of this as much as possible."

The study used data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey, a U.S. dataset collected from April 2016 to May 2017.

The researchers analyzed self-reported health assessments from 125,885 adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Those adults reported the number of minutes they spent walking for different purposes - from home to work, from home to shopping, from home to recreation activities and walking trips that did not start at their homes.

And, the survey respondents ranked how healthy they were on a scale of 1 to 5. The dataset the researchers analyzed included more than 500,000 trips.

The researchers - Akar and Ohio State doctoral student Gilsu Pae - found that walking for any duration, for any purpose, increased how healthy a person felt.

But they also found that an additional 10 minutes of walking per trip from home for work-based trips - say, from a person's house to the bus stop 10 minutes away - increased that person's odds of having a higher health score by 6 percent compared with people who walk for other reasons. People who walked from home for reasons not connected to work, shopping or recreation were 3 percent more likely to have a higher health score.

And, the researchers found, people who walked for work walked faster - on average, about 2.7 miles per hour - than people who walked for other reasons. People who walked for recreational purposes - say, an after-dinner stroll - walked, on average, about 2.55 miles per hour.

The researchers also found that walking trips that begin at home are generally longer than walking trips that begin somewhere else. The team found that 64 percent of home-based walking trips last at least 10 minutes, while 50 percent of trips that begin elsewhere are at least that long.

Akar has studied the ways people travel for years, and said she was surprised to see that walking for different purposes led to a difference in how healthy people believed they were.

"I was thinking the differences would not be that significant, that walking is walking, and all forms of walking are helpful," she said. "And that is true, but walking for some purposes has significantly greater effect on our health than others."

Akar said the findings suggest that building activity into parts of a day that are otherwise sedentary - commuting by foot instead of by car, for example - can make a person feel healthier.

"That means going to a gym or a recreation center aren't the only ways to exercise," Akar said. "It's an opportunity to put active minutes into our daily schedules in an easy way."
-end-
CONTACT:
Gulsah Akar
akar.3@osu.edu

Written by:
Laura Arenschield
arenschield.2@osu.edu

Ohio State University

Related Walking Articles:

Why walking to work may be better for you than a casual stroll
Walking with a purpose -- especially walking to get to work -- makes people walk faster and consider themselves to be healthier, a new study has found.
Spinal cord gives bio-bots walking rhythm
Miniature biological robots are making greater strides than ever, thanks to the spinal cord directing their steps.
These feet were made for walking
Many of us take our feet for granted, but they have a challenging job in the biomechanics department.
Walking sharks discovered in the tropics
Four new species of tropical sharks that use their fins to walk are causing a stir in waters off northern Australia and New Guinea.
Micro implants could restore standing and walking
Researchers at the University of Alberta are focused on restoring lower-body function after severe spinal injuries using a tiny spinal implant.
Walking changes vision
When people walk around, they process visual information differently than at rest: the peripheral visual field shows enhanced processing.
Virtual walking system for re-experiencing the journey of another person
Virtual-reality researchers have developed a virtual-walking system that records a person's walking and re-plays it with vision and foot vibrations.
A large study indicates how cities can promote walking for travel
Coinciding with the European Mobility Week, a study performed in seven European cities focuses on walking for travel, a strategy to increase physical activity in cities.
Robotic cane shown to improve stability in walking
By adding electronics and computation technology to a simple cane that has been around since ancient times, Columbia Engineering researchers have transformed it into a 21st century robotic device that can provide light-touch assistance in walking to the aged and others with impaired mobility.
Water walking -- The new mode of rock skipping
Utah State University's Splash Lab not only reveals the physics of how elastic spheres interact with water, but it also lays the foundation for the future design of water-walking drones.
More Walking News and Walking Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.