Physical activity -- not just a 'walk in the park'

Jun 10, 2008

People with more green space in their living environment walk and cycle less often and for shorter amounts of time, according to new research published today in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

About five thousand Dutch residents were surveyed in the study which involved completing a questionnaire. Questions focused on participants' physical activity and self perceived health. The percentage of green space within a 1 km and 3 km radius around their house was calculated for each resident.

"Little is known about the way in which green space exerts a beneficial effect. Several explanations are possible" explained Jolanda Maas, who led the research. "In this study we investigate whether a green living environment encourages people to undertake physical activity. We found there was no or a negative relationship between the amount of green space in people's environment and whether they played sports, walked or cycled for leisure."

Maas and her team discovered, that while walking and cycling is favoured by the largest part of the population, there was a negative relationship between the amount of green space and levels of walking or cycling for leisure. In other words people living near to green spaces walked less often, probably as their shops and facilities were further away so they relied more heavily on the use of their car. Apparently closeness of destinations is more important for walking and cycling during leisure time in the Netherlands than availability of green space.

"We found that physical activity is not a likely cause behind the apparent relationship between green space and health. If people don't live near green space they may seek alternative places to exercise. In the future, we need to look at where it is people choose to exercise to understand this more clearly. People's perception of their green space may motivate their behaviour more than the availability of green space itself. What is clear is that the amount people exercise is not related to the amount of green space they live near" concluded Maas.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Running really can keep you young, study says

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US village is cell phone free and loving it

Nov 13, 2014

In this rural speck of hyper-connected America, it's easier to hear a cow moo than a cell phone ring. That's because Green Bank is home to the world's most sensitive radio telescope, a device that catches the birth and death ...

Right place, right time: Cellular transportation compartments

Oct 26, 2014

Proteins are the machinery that accomplishes almost every task in every cell in every living organism. The instructions for how to build each protein are written into a cell's DNA. But once the proteins are constructed, they ...

HP supercomputer at NREL garners top honor

Oct 21, 2014

A supercomputer created by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that uses warm water to cool its servers, and then re-uses that water to heat its building, has been ...

A Closer Look: Stream-box gaming is a mixed bag

Sep 29, 2014

As gaming consoles such as the Xbox and the PlayStation diversify into video, social media and other non-gaming apps, it seems only fair that streaming TV devices start nudging into gaming territory.

Recommended for you

Running really can keep you young, study says

2 hours ago

If you are an active senior who wants to stay younger, keep on running. A new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University shows that senior citizens who run several times ...

The American athletics track is still a man's world

3 hours ago

The limited coverage that American female athletes get in the media is one of many subtle forms of gender biases they have to cope with. The little exposure they do get often focuses more on their attire, or how attractive, ...

How do teenage boys perceive their weight?

6 hours ago

Almost one third of male adolescents inaccurately perceive their weight. This can influence their eating habits and, consequently, their health, according to a study led by the UAB and conducted with 600 teenage boys from ...

Cold front sparks dangerous use of space heaters

6 hours ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.