People who live in cities exercise more
City dwellers walk and / or cycle an average of 15 minutes per day more than someone who lives in the country, according to the PhD research of Delfien Van Dyck of the University of Gent.
While rural areas are considered "exercise-friendly" environments due to the relaxing atmosphere and abundance of green space, this does not necessarily translate into residents exercising more often.
In fact, Van Dyck's research showed that city folk exercise more - on average 15 minutes per day more than country dwellers, not only in order to get from A to B or for work-related reasons, but also for leisurely walks. Meanwhile, when it comes to sports, there is little difference between the inhabitants of the two environments.
The characteristics particular to a city centre, such as high population density and availability of shops and public services - all within walking and cycling distance - together with fast transport routes between them, appear to influence the amount of exercise people do.
The danger of heavy car traffic or a relative lack of green space do not seem to deter people much from exercising.
According to Van Dyck, her findings substantiate research done in America and in Australia which has also shown that city life stimulates its adult inhabitants to exercise more.
Van Dyck hopes that her results will be applied by city planners to urban renewal projects to further facilitate exercise by residents, and will help raise awareness in country dwellers that they must make deliberate efforts to incorporate more exercise into their lives.