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Survey research looks at attitudes, obstacles to walking and biking to work
Date:4/13/2009

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.

Pam Wittman, a K-State senior in kinesiology, Olathe, worked with K-State's Melissa Bopp and Andy Kaczynski, both assistant professors of kinesiology, on the active commuting research. The project included two surveys, administered in 2008, which looked at demographics, psychosocial factors and environmental characteristics related to active commuting. A survey of more than 800 individuals at K-State was conducted, followed by another survey of 400 Manhattan area residents.

The researchers say the results lay the groundwork for future policy discussions and for tailoring public health messages. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day is enough for health benefits, and small bouts of exercise throughout the day of as little as 10 minutes provide the health payoff, according to recently revised guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Among the campus findings: students were most likely to actively commute, then faculty members, and then staff. Women and men were equally interested in walking or biking. Older individuals were less likely to actively commute than younger individuals.

Depending on distance to campus, those living within a 20-minute walk actively commuted four times per week, and those within a 20-minute bike ride, biked to campus five times per week.

According to Bopp, many survey participants said they were willing to actively commute if they perceived they could travel to their destination in about 20 minutes -- or a distance of approximately one mile.

The K-State researchers found a number of things that facilitated people's choices to actively commute.

"We learned from the community survey
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Contact: Melissa Bopp
mbopp@k-state.edu
785-532-7771
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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