Walking is estimated to provide health benefits of $2.60 per kilometre.
Many trips start and end with walking. This has been long acknowledged in health studies, where walking is considered the keystone to promote healthier lifestyles based on physical activities.
Reducing physical inactivity by walking is one of the World Health Organization’s priorities and considered one of the best investments to achieve health and sustainable development for all, with a goal to attain a 15% reduction of sedentary activities by 2030.
Creating active environments that support walking is part of 'systems-based' approach to addressing the effects of inactivity.
In New Zealand, physical inactivity contributes to around 9% of all deaths. By some measures, half of the population is insufficiently physically active and nine out of ten New Zealand adolescents do not meet WHO recommended activity levels.
The health benefits of walking include:
As a low income person who cannot drive, walking is a really important form of exercise for me. If I can trust my walking route I will use it a lot, to get places and just for exercise.
Walking can also improve mental health and well-being, by having a positive impact on self-esteem, physical self-worth, stress, mood and mindset. An Australian study found that those who walked for recreation for more than 8.6 minutes per day were 72% more likely to report better physical health and 33% more likely to report better mental health than those who walked less.
When I walk to school, I like the fresh air and I get to chat to my friends on the way, and if I take my scooter it's fun.
Active travel to school not only incorporates physical activity into students daily lives (with resulting health benefits) but also helps children concentrate at school – a Danish study found that children who bike or walk to school have greater concentration than those who are driven. A meta-analysis of the research shows strong evidence that active travel to school is positively related to academic performance.
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