Your neighborhood’s walkability could impact your health, study says

When you’re trying to get your steps in every little bit counts, including where you live.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that adults who lived in neighborhoods that weren't very walkable had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

In fact, people living in areas with limited walking space were 33% more likely to have a high predicted 10-year cardiovascular risk.

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Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto and ICES analyzed nearly 45,000 individuals aged 40 to 74 living in 15 major cities.

The study is the first of its kind to analyze risk over a ten-year period. It also found that people living in less walkable areas had higher blood pressure and a higher risk of diabetes.

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"From a public policy perspective, the findings support the idea that the benefits of walkable neighborhoods could be significant enough to move the dial for individual health,” said Nicholas Howell, an author of the study and a graduate student in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's.

The researchers hope that their findings will urge people in less walkable cities to find other ways to exercise.

In addition to lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease, walking can also help you to maintain a healthy weight, as well as improve your mood, according to the Mayo Clinic.