Koschinsky and her team wanted to better understand what motivates people to lace on their sneakers and go for a walk. Their work focused on data collected with two different instruments, “Walk Score” and the “State of Place Index”: “Walk Score is used to measure walkable access while the State of Place Index is applied to synthesize the qualitative urban form dimensions” that have been linked to walking among people in an area. These include trees, crosswalks, and benches being present, for example. Using data from 115 walkable neighborhoods in Washington DC’s metropolitan area the team
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Miller and Krizan studied the emotional consequences of the walking that we do as we live our daily lives. They learned that “walking incidental to routine activity (heretofore referred to as "incidental ambulation")-not specifically "exercise"-is a robust facilitator [enabler] of positive affect [mood]. . . . ambulation [walking] facilitates positive affect even when participants are blind to” its ability to do so.
Now there are even more reasons to make sure people exercising can listen to music. Stork and Ginis “investigated the impact of listening to music during exercise on perceived enjoyment, attitudes and intentions towards sprint interval training (SIT). Twenty men . . . and women . . . unfamiliar with SIT exercise completed two acute sessions of SIT, one with and one without music. . . . Attitudes towards SIT were significantly more positive following the music than no music condition. . . .
A study lead by Rioux in France provides additional insights into how urban design can influence walking. The researchers compared “walking patterns in two neighborhoods with different numbers of parks; parks did not differ in rated attractiveness nor did neighborhoods differ substantially in rated walkability.” Data were collected from people 32 to 86 years old. When these individuals “drew their 3 most recent walking routes on maps of their neighborhood.
There’s more evidence that perceptions of situations can trump reality. Orstad and her team found after they “systematically searched three databases for studies that examined agreement between perceived and objective measures and/or associations between comparable variables and physical activity. . . . [that] Perceived neighborhood environment variables were significantly associated with physical activity . . . at slightly higher rates than objective neighborhood environment variables.”
Barbieri and team investigated the use of sit-stand desks in workplaces. They conducted a study that “aimed to document user behaviors and compare the use of two sit-stand workstation based interventions among two groups of administrative office workers: an “autonomous” group in which these workstations were introduced following some general ergonomic guidelines, and another “feedback-system” group in which the sit-stand tables were furnished with an automatic reminder system: users were prompted to accept, delay or refuse pre-programmed changes in table position, and if they accepted, the
There are many, many ways that design can reduce stress; encourage healthy eating, sleeping, and
Research lead by Thomas indicates that in-office drinking water can have an important effect on employees’ mental and physical health, as well as how they move through their workplace. The team found that the office workers it interviewed “put considerable labor into developing and maintaining complex systems for making choices about what, how and where to eat while working. These systems . . . were then strained and frequently sabotaged by food that simply materialized in the workplace through catered meals and office ‘food altars.’ . . .
Organizing grade school playgrounds into different activity areas has been linked to increases in physical activity among students. Researchers have learned that “zones with specific games can improve physical activity, improving a child’s chance of engaging in the recommended 60 minutes of ‘play per day,’ an effort endorsed by many health organizations. . . . Researchers found that average physical activity increased by 10 percent and children averaged 175 more steps on a zoned playground compared to a traditional playground. . . .
Fleig and team’s research confirms that perceptions drive action. Data collected in a “highly walkable” neighborhood from older adults (average age 70) were assessed. Information on attitudes and perceptions was gathered via a questionnaire and actual movement was determined via ActiGraph GT3X + accelerometers worn for 7 consecutive days. Analyses indicated that “perceived street connectivity and diversity of land use were negatively related to sedentary behavior. . . . the perceived built environment is important for physical activity and sedentary behavior . . .