Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes towards walking: results of a national poll

45% of Canadians reported that it wouldn’t be difficult to commit to walking 30 minutes a day, the amount recommended for health benefits. This is just one interesting finding from a telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians.

Through our partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association, Canada Walks was able to include some specific questions about walking in a national Ekos poll conducted in June 2015.

The survey asked people about their behaviours and attitudes toward walking.

More than 70% of those surveyed agreed that walking is a form of exercise with real health benefits and also find walking to be a pleasant and relaxing activity. These are great building blocks for a movement to get Canadians walking more.

However, Canadians are averaging about five walks a week of at least ten minutes, a number that is fairly low. This does not come close to meeting the physical activity guidelines for adults.

And although the duration that people walk seems high at 42 minutes, 44% of respondents reported walking 20-60 minutes when they walk, so this skewed the results a bit.

We’re seeing the most uptake of walking during personal time – for errands (59%), to parks/playgrounds (57%), and visiting (47%), and far less for commuting to work (31%) or school (20%). These are areas where we can continue to work to increase the mode share of walking in the transportation mix.

While 77% of respondents agree that they should walk more often, they identified obstacles such as having a disability or mobility issue (20%); no sidewalks or pathways (16%); or safety concerns in the neighbourhood (13%).

Not surprisingly, the biggest barrier that people identified was time (50%), so the message is still “build it into your daily life” rather than trying to fit it in as a separate activity. Active travel to work and school are great opportunities to do this!

It’s also interesting to note that a clear majority of survey respondents support walkability initiatives such as enforcing lower speed limits (61%); increased spending on walking infrastructure (80%); and better snow and ice removal on sidewalks (88%).

Canada Walks agrees that these are priority areas to improve the conditions for walking. We promote the value of walking and walkability, and work with partners to help build Canada’s walking movement. Thanks to CAA for their shared interest in walk friendly communities.

Read the complete survey results: CAA Walking Survey_Top-Line National Results.

Check out the infographics we’ve created depicting the survey results:

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