From the Dept of Obvious Research: You can (gasp) walk or bike to work!

April 19th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  6 Comments

According to researchers with Kansas State University’s Physical Activity and Public Health Laboratory, active commuting — walking or biking to school or work — can be an easy, effective and efficient way to integrate physical activity into the daily routine.

No shit! That is just crazy! Anyway the interesting findings here, which I’ve been bitching about for years, is that the physical layout of the urban environment contributes to people’s inclination to actively commute. If you have bike lanes, walking paths, safe modes of personal transport, well-arranged services, etc. then people will use them. Hell, I’m almost sorry that Toronto put in bike lanes in some places because there are so many bloody cyclists now, you can get stuck in bike rush hour! It’s also sort of an odd feeling to complain about how there are no bike parking spaces left. But I’d take that any day over the soul-eroding slow death of car commuting.

Full article


  1. Dan Hubbard says:

    April 19th, 2009at 12:23 pm(#)

    Who is funding this research? The more appropriate research focus should be on civic planning. Since WWII and the explosion of suburbia, we have gone away from pedestrian friendly layouts to pursue the American Dream of house away from our jobs, schools, and shopping. Now we are paying the price of increasing commute times and lack of physical activity.

  2. Trishy says:

    April 20th, 2009at 11:12 am(#)

    I was wondering the same thing. How is it that my colleagues in chemistry and engineering struggle to get funding for creative projects, and every week I see a new ridiculous “study” on how climbing into a polar bear exhibit may be bad for your health, or some other nonsense?

  3. Leslie says:

    April 20th, 2009at 4:52 pm(#)

    I wish Edmonton would get some bike lanes! I don’t ride my bike in the city in fear of getting hit by our angry drivers! However, I live downtown and as a result walk to get much of my groceries, daily errands and my warm up for my gym workouts is walking to the gym!

    Re: Research: I like the studies that say vegetables are good for you. those always make me laugh…

  4. lieke says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 5:27 am(#)

    Other ideas: In the Netherlands, where I live, many companies have a “bike plan” for their employees. If the employee wants, he gets a decent bike at a strongly reduced price provided he comes to work with it more than 50% of the time. Needless to say, the infrastructure for bikes is excellent, too.
    I used to commute by bike 2x 30 min every day, summer and winter (although I wouldn’t recommend it in a northern climate in winter, say Toronto).
    As I was biking at a moderate pace and dressed for work (jacket, skirt!, laptopbag etc), I did not need to “freshen up” as I didn’t get that warm. Unless you come on a racing bike at 30 miles an hour, nobody here does that. And they don’t smell either. Considering that I was a few pounds overweight but in reasonable comdition, I’d say you don’t need to be Lance Armstrong to go biking to work regularly. You’ll feel the benefits soon + it’s fun.

  5. Kevin says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 1:33 pm(#)

    Wow, I wonder how many people have read this and been amazed that such an obvious solution to their heal was waiting right there for them without ever seeing it! I think I should commision research into finding out if working in the fields such as our ancestors did has any health benefits…

    I’m always amazed how glued to their car seats people are. The place I work at has a car park that’s not big enough to get any speed up if you decided to run accross it and yet there is competition to see who can park at the door. And I thought driving there was lazyness itself. Or how about a gym with a free car park – is it me or why would you drive to a gym ?!

    Town planning has a lot to answer for. Even here in the UK the planners are doing their best to locate things all over town so that three or four journeys (probably by car) are needed to get the week’s shopping.

    Great post, thanks!

  6. Chris says:

    April 23rd, 2009at 7:33 am(#)

    Everyone likes to crap on researchers it seems. If you read the article you could see that the research was about people’s commuting habits not whether walking was good for you. The starting assumption of their research was that more people should be walking or biking to work/school. As such, their research was (or could be, I haven’t read the original study) valuable in that it could affect public policy and community planning.

    Misinterpretations of research like this are due largely to poor journalism and the desire to make often complex findings easily digestable for lay readers.

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