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Populus research finds older generations walking more than before

May’s National Walking Month is a timely reminder of the benefits of walking for everyone. Regularly walking is broadly recognised as a way of improving mental and physical health, as well as reducing social isolation.

Older generations in particular can benefit from more walking. Populus research finds that Saga respondents are leading the way when it comes to moving more.

The research finds that more than half (56%) of Saga respondents say they are walking more now than they did when they were working(1). One in eight (12%) say they swim more and one in ten are cycling more.

Exercise linked to brain power for the over 50s

The British Journal of Sports Medicine’s analysis of 39 studies shows that exercising for at least 45 minutes, several times a week, can boost brain power for the age group.

Walking isn’t the only form of exercise shown to demonstrate benefits. Resistance and aerobic training such as swimming, cycling and jogging are all important in keeping the mind sharp.

Respondents cited health benefits as the most important reason (85%) to exercise ahead of having fun (41%) or simply to socialise (35%).(2)

If you’re not already, National Walking Month could be a great time to commit to boosting those step counts.

Tips to get more walking in:

  • When on the move, walk up to the next bus stop or tube station.
  • Take the stairs, rather than waiting for the lift.
  • Most of us work at our desks all day. Build walking into your breaks.
  • Go for a walk with friends, or the dog. If you don’t have a canine companion yourself, offer to take a neighbour’s or friend’s dog for a walk.
  • Do some gardening or vacuum cleaning.
  • Meet friends or family for walks – instead of sitting down, you can walk together.
  • Download or use one of the many smartphone apps to monitor your progress, and try to beat your own personal bests as you go along.

Research is a vital part in understanding UK behaviours of particular age groups. Find out more about Populus’s Solutions that answer your organisation’s most vital questions.


Populus interviewed 9,116 Saga respondents, all aged 50+, online between 19 and 26 January 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see www.populus.co.uk

2 Populus interviewed 9,539 Saga respondents, all aged 50+, online between 16 and 22 February 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see www.populus.co.uk

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