Streets Are Meant For Walking Too

Obviously, walking is the cheapest form of exercise. It’s an activity that you can do everyday with loads of benefits. As pointed out by The Guardian, walkable communities are beneficial to citizens because of the following:

  • health-wise
    • walking “reduces risk of premature death”
    • walking improves emotional health
    • regular walkers are “likely to weigh less than those who go to the gym”
    • employees who walk to work tend “to be more alert and have fewer days off sick”
  • economic-wise
    • “people who arrive on foot stay for longer, make more visits and spend more money”
  • walking is zero-pollution so it’s good for our environment
  • “as the number of people walking in cities increases exponentially, crime reduces”

The walkability of cities can significantly affect the health – physical and mental – of its citizens. A brisk 20-minute walk a day reduces risk of premature death. One UK doctor who started organising walks for patients with chronic health problems recorded that 29% were able to give up antidepressants and 92.5% said their mood had improved. LSE research found that people who walked regularly were likely to weigh less than those who go to the gym. “The results provide an argument for a campaign to promote walking,” concluded the research. “Recommending that people walk briskly more often is a cheap and easy policy option.”

In an effort to adapt a healthy lifestyle, Oklahoma Mayor Mick Cornett challenges citizens to walk their way around the city instead of relying heavily on cars as primary mode of transportation. This is a success story because the effort to educate and raise awareness came from the city’s mayor.

Cornett asked citizens to vote for a tax to fund a series of public works that would encourage less sedentary lifestyles. “And so the citizens have funded more sidewalks, more jogging and biking trails, senior wellness centres, new gymnasiums for kids,” says the mayor. “Perhaps most notably [we now have] a completely different infrastructure that is built to be more pedestrian-friendly, where life revolves around people instead of cars.”

Source: These streets are made for walking: how Oklahoma City overturned car culture | Anna Leach | The Guardian

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