walkable neighbourhoods are healthier.

We’re all looking to live a healthier life. Yet many of us find we can't live the healthier, more active lives we need to... there just aren't enough hours in the day. What if this isn’t just a question of personal willpower, but the way our neighbourhoods are designed?  Truth is, in neighbourhoods where driving is our only good option, we’re missing out on opportunities for exercise every day, and this only hurts our health.[1] So, how do we go about making our neighbourhoods healthier? We make them walkable.

Live Long and Walk More

On average, Canadians exercise more regularly in walkable neighbourhoods.[2] This is good news because, no matter when you start, daily exercise can lengthen your lifespan.[3] In fact, walking regularly is so good for us that, in terms of life expectancy, for every minute of exercising, we get three back.[4] While living in non-walkable neighbourhoods has been correlated with many increased health risks,[5][6] these can be resolved with a few simple, meaningful changes that encourage walking and biking by making them easier, safer, and more enjoyable.[7]

Walking lengthens your lifespan; for every minute you spend walking briskly, you get three minutes back.

“...social isolation is as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” [11]

The Good Life

Leave It In Park

Let’s face it: driving can be stressful. For those who drive a lot each day, this begins to have serious impacts on health. Too much time spent behind the wheel can increase levels of depression, and one hour of driving triples the risk of heart attack in the hours that follow.[8] In fact, traffic exposure is responsible for more heart attacks globally than any other activity.[8] The bottom line? Stress is really bad for us, and commuting by car can be stressful. Why not give ourselves more options?

A walkable neighbourhood means more time spent enjoying the space outside our homes, and more opportunities for connection with our neighbours. This is good news because, culturally, we have been becoming more and more isolated.[9] Living in a neighbourhood of rich personal connections raises life expectancy,[10] while low social interaction is about as bad for us as being addicted to alcohol, or smoking 15 cigarettes per day.[11] In terms of our physical and mental health,  making our neighbourhoods walkable is one of the best choices we can make.

DID YOU KNOW? "The average 60-year old Swede is fitter than the average 26-year old Canadian... because more than 40 percent of trips by Swedes are by foot or bicycle, compared to only eight percent by Canadians.”

-Alex Boston, QTD in “The Drive for a New Urban Form”  Canadian Fuels Association

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