Activity-friendly areas help you exercise more

Living in activity-friendly neighbourhoods such as public transport stops and parks could help people exercise up to 90 minutes more per week, a new international study has found.

Researchers mapped out the neighbourhood features from the areas around the participants’ homes, such as residential density , number of street intersections, public transport stops, number of parks, mixed land use, and ne arest public transport points.exercise

The study published in the Lancet journal included 6,822 adults aged 18-66 from 14 cities in 10 countries.

Physical activity was mea sured by using accelerometers worn around participants’ waists for a minimum of four days, recording movement every minute. On average, participants across all 14 cities did 37 minutes per day moderate to vigorous physical activity -equivalent to brisk walking or more. The four neighbourhood features which were most strongly associated with increased physical activity were high residential density , number of intersections, number of public transport stops, and number of parks within walking distance.

The activity-friendly characteristics applied across cities, suggesting they are important design principles that can be applied internationally.