Walking, cycling to work key to increasing physical activity

  • 01/11/2017

About half of New Zealanders are not getting enough exercise, and researchers say higher investment in active transport is essential to increase our poor levels of physical activity.

A new study shows those who walk and cycle have a 76 percent higher chance of meeting the New Zealand physical activity guidelines.

Otago University's Caroline Shaw says we need to engineer physical activity back into our lives.

"One way we can do that is through transport. We all go places every day and if we can cycle or walk to do that we are much more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines and get enough activity for good heath," she says.

Ms Shaw says our cities have been engineered to make active transport unappealing.

"People want to ride their bikes in particular more and in fact walk more. And the last two, three, four decades made it increasingly unpleasant and difficult. We perceive it to be very unsafe, so I don't think it's very surprising," she says.

The study shows an active commute leads to health benefits.

"People who take up walking or cycling to work are more physical active and lose weight and are less likely to develop diabetes," she says.