Increase Physical Activity

Thinking on Treadmills (04-24-15)

Research on working at treadmill desks continues to roll in.  Larson and his colleagues have learned that “Walking on a treadmill desk may result in a modest difference in total learning and typing outcomes relative to sitting, but those declines may not outweigh the benefit of the physical activity gains from walking on a treadmill.”

Neighborhood Location and Walking (04-23-15)

Research Design Connections reports regularly on walkability research.  Cho and Rodriguez have examined this issue in a different way, finding that “conducting research on a neighbourhood scale has been the dominant approach whereas the association of the regional-scale environment with behaviours has rarely been explored. . . .

Insights on Commuting Choices (04-21-15)

 Yang and colleagues found in a Missouri based study that “having transit stops within 10–15 min walking distance from home . . . [was] associated with commuting by public transit. . . . Having free or low cost recreation facilities around the worksite . . . and using bike facilities to lock bikes at the worksite . . . were associated with active commuting [riding bicycles to work, etc.].”  All associations reported here were statistically significant.

Walk or Drive? (03-03-15)

What design features prompt people to drive between places that are within walking distance of each other?  Schneider found that in shopping districts “respondents were significantly more likely to walk when the main commercial roadway had fewer driveway crossings and a lower speed limit.”

Robert Schneider.  2015.  “Walk or Drive Between Stores?  Designing Neighbourhood Shopping Districts for Pedestrian Activity.”  Journal of Urban Design, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 212-229.

Urban Design in China and Activity (02-06-15)

The design of Chinese cities affects the level of physical activity of people living in them, according to an article published in Preventative Medicine.  This study is interesting because it replicates findings from Western countries.  Researchers at New York University and East China Normal University report that  “Chinese cities are different from many Western cities in relation to urban design, and far more densely populated. . . .

Jacobs' Work Supported (02-03-15)

Sung and colleagues have documented the value of Jane Jacobs' work.  As they report: “Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) had an enormous influence on urban design theories and practices. This study aims to operationalize Jacobs’s conditions for a vital urban life. These are (1) mixed use, (2) small blocks, (3) aged buildings, and (4) a sufficient concentration of buildings. Jacobs suggested that a vital urban life could be sustained by an urban realm that promotes pedestrian activity for various purposes at various times. . . .

Designing Neighborhoods to Encourage Physical Activity (01-26-15)

Adlakha and his colleagues have researched neighborhood features that encourage walking, confirming many findings from earlier studies.  They determined via telephone interviews, that “In home neighborhoods, seven . . .  BE [built environment] features (availability of fruits and vegetables, presence of shops and stores, bike facilities, recreation facilities, crime rate, seeing others active, and interesting things) were associated with leisure PA [physical activity]. . . .