Want A Healthier Lifestyle? You May Have To Move

While there are no tricks to weight loss, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of living a healthy lifestyle. One of these is living close to a gym, pool, or playing field and far away from fast food outlets.

A new study published in Lancet Public Health shows that people were in better shape when they lived near some sort of fitness facility. Researchers also determined that people are healthier if they don’t pass by a McDonalds or pizza place close to their way home.

The study included 400,000 male and female participants from the UK aged 40 to 70. Researchers examined their weight, waist measurements and body fat and recorded their addresses. They determined that people typically had a fast-food outlet within a mile of their homes. One-third of participants had to travel more than one mile to reach a fitness facility. Public parks and bicycle paths weren’t factored into the study.

Those who lived closer to the gym had 0.81 percent less body fat and slimmer waistlines (by half an inch). People who lived further away from fast food joints also had slimmer waistlines.

The study has its limitations because it was not a controlled experiment. However, it shows that having better access to workout facilities and fewer fast food options can be beneficial to one’s health.

“It is likely that communities without the neighbourhood resources needed to encourage a healthy lifestyle put their residents at a higher risk of obesity,” explained senior study author, Steven Cummins of the London School of Hygiene&Tropical Medicine. “This could be improved by restricting the number of new fast food outlets in a neighbourhood and how close they can be to people’s homes, incentivizing operators of physical activity facilities to open in residential areas with few facilities, or funding local authorities to provide such facilities.”

The New York-based marketing firm Dstillery determined in 2017 that the average gymgoer travels four miles to get to their workout facility. The study also determined that the longer the commute, the less likely it is for someone to visit the gym.

A 2016 poll found that four out of 10 Canadians find the gym intimidating. Their biggest fear is “other people watching” them work out. Others worried that they wouldn’t understand how to use the equipment. Still more said they thought they were too overweight to go to the gym. When asked if a friend accompanying them would help, 50 percent agreed.

In 2017, the number-one New Year’s resolution for Canadians was improving personal fitness and nutrition.



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