Glasgow residents walk more than anywhere else in UK

It is not necessarily the active lifestyle expected from a city that has been long-maligned as the “sick man of Europe”.

But now a report has found Glaswegians walk more than people living in any other city in the UK.

A survey commissioned by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, shows Glasgow is the top city in the UK for walking, with the highest proportion of people – 86 per cent – saying they sometimes walk purely for leisure or exercise.

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In Edinburgh, however, which has a more hilly city terrain than its counterpart in the west of Scotland, just 76 per cent of people say they walk for non-essential reasons.

Glasgow commuters walk along Buchanan Street.

The report found two thirds of the whole UK population – 68 per cent – claim to walk for at least 20 minutes each day for exercise or leisure.

The survey also revealed a third of people say they have less time for walking now than they did during lockdown, because they are socialising more. Nearly half of people feel guilty for walking less now that strict Covid rules do not require them to be at home as much.

The biggest motivations for people to get out and walk are fresh air, to maintain fitness and physical health and to improve mental health and well being, the report found. Other reasons for walking are to lose weight, to connect with nature and to exercise a pet.

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People find the biggest barriers to walking are bad weather and concerns about not feeling safe walking alone. Other reasons for not walking include not having time and worries about air pollution and traffic. However, more than one in ten cite the reason they do not walk more as concerns about electric scooters on city streets.

Over half of people say they notice an effect on their weight if they do not walk, or notice an effect on their mental health.

Stephen Edwards, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “It is encouraging that two thirds of us walk for at least 20 minutes a day. But it is very concerning that so many people never walk for exercise or leisure at all – and such a high proportion of people don’t walk to or for work.

“Walking is good for our minds, our bodies and our neighbourhoods. Walking for short journeys, instead of driving, helps to reduce congestion, road danger and air pollution. Even a short, brisk walk can have fantastic mental and physical health benefits, helping to prevent long-term chronic health conditions such as type two diabetes, heart disease and depression and improving the management of existing conditions.”

Mr Edwards added: “Walking is a great way to exercise and socialise at the same time. Active people report higher levels of mental well-being and are more likely to be satisfied with their life, feel happier and less anxious – and walking together can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. With lockdown restrictions lifted and the weather getting nicer, it’s time for us to walk back together.”

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