I’ve just been reading some results from a really interesting survey. The Centre for Ageing Better and Sustrans (both organisations well worth following) have been investigating the motivators and barriers to active travel for people in the UK 50-70 age bracket.
Physical activity over 50
We all know that physical activity is good for us, especially as we age but you might be surprised to hear that our average activity levels start to drop as soon as our early 50s.
Build in active travel
Finding ways to be physically active isn’t always easy, which is one reason active travel, i.e. walking, cycling or running to where we need to get to, is so important. The other reason of course is that if we are travelling actively, we aren’t producing fossil fuel emissions.
Active travel motivators
Let’s face it, none of us would be active without a few motivators but are they different for those of us who are over 50? Here’s what the Centre for Ageing Better and Sustrans discovered.
- The physical and mental health benefits encourage us to travel actively
- Our enjoyment of the outdoors is a great motivator
- Active travel helps us to feel independent
- Lots of us are looking forward to an active retirement
Active travel barriers
Active travel isn’t an option for everybody, especially those with declining health but what are the main reasons we over 50s give for not participating? Again the Centre for Ageing Better and Sustrans had some interesting answers.
- The British weather doesn’t always help
- Some of us feel unsafe outdoors (particularly when cycling)
- Life is busy, we have other priorities
- Sometimes our destinations are just too far away
Threats into opportunities
Surprisingly for a walker, I am a relatively recent convert to active travel. For me, as for so many people, this is a result of lockdown time, during which I explored new routes and new possibilities from my front door.
Plenty of excuses
It’s not always easy. My shopping rucksack can be heavy, the Devon showers even heavier, and my busy freelance work schedule sometimes gives me the perfect excuse to drive. I am trying with active travel though. If asked I would say my main motivators were weight loss and sustainability but the other benefits are there.
Not least because I live at the top of a very big hill!