Would you like to see more challenging walking routes where you live?


14th December 2022

BORING pavements in our towns and cities could be made more interesting by adding obstacles to them, and researchers say it could also make us healthier.

Research led by the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture found that more than threequarters of adults would choose more challenging routes, such as those featuring stepping stones and balance beams, especially if it was a shortcut.

Although walking is good exercise, it’s even better if it involves balancing and jumping, as these help to build up our muscles and bones. Even exercise such as cycling or swimming don’t help to build our bones up, compared to things like jogging or football, where the bones are repeatedly given small jolts.

Anna Boldina, the lead author of the report, got interested in the subject after moving from the Portuguese countryside to London, where her walking routes were much less challenging. She says that even small changes to activity levels on daily routes can be a big boost to public health if millions of people are involved.

“Our findings show that pedestrians can be nudged into a wider range of physical activities through minor changes to the urban landscape,” she says.

Nearly 600 UK adults were shown various mock-ups of potential walking routes and asked to rate how difficult they looked and whether they’d choose them. Routes were more likely to be chosen if they had handrails and if they cut journey times.

“Children don’t need much encouragement to try out a balance beam but we wanted to see how adults would respond,” says co-author Dr Paul Hanel. “We found that while embarrassment, anxiety, caution and peer pressure can put some adults off, the vast majority of people can be persuaded to take a more challenging route by paying careful attention to design, safety, difficulty level, location and signage [signs].”

The researchers now want to test out their ideas by building some test routes to see if people actually use them and what effects that has.

Would you like to see more challenging walking routes where you live?


Leave a Reply

hell0th3re · 1 year ago

I think it would make it really fun to get to places, though it could be dangerous, especially in wet weather when it would be slippery

aces10 · 1 year ago

It would make going on walks so much more enjoyable, especially for children. I know myself and my brother would definitely be encouraged to go outside, especially if it meant we could race each other. Also, more challenging routes would also improve people’s fitness, which is linked to better mental health.

allegrag · 1 year ago

First to comment

allegrag · 1 year ago

I think I would to make the walk to school more adventurous

potterwolf · 1 year ago

Well I would it would be nice to go down them when walking my dog. But also maybe you should have a disabled/pushchair path.

max1234 · 1 year ago

It’s better to be a total monkey than a lazy bug with a stroller!

squeezjoos · 1 year ago

I would because I have LOADS of energy and ( so do my brothers )to walk down the pavement in this way would help me a lot

adikinzaal · 1 year ago

Yes I agree it's fun, but what happened to peoples safety. People could easily just fall off or hurt themselves. Instead people should make adult playstreets and should sign a form so that the council or government don't get into trouble if something happens.

mrrickroll · 1 year ago

It could be horrible for older people, but for the younger people (like me!) would definitely like a more interesting shopping trip. But if it makes life harder for older people, it would be a no from me.

dscool · 1 year ago

I think that for disabled people it would be hard for them to walk on it because they might have special needs and also it might be hard for older people as well so maybe have a little space for them to walk on or make another obstacle course for disabled people and elderly people if they want it if they want it if they don't want it then give them their space give disabled people their one give elderly people their one and the people that are not disabled and are not elderly their one and the people that don't want an obstacle course a little space for them to walk.

candyapple · 1 year ago

I walk to school, and it becomes quite tedious and annoying. However, if there were obstacles along the pavement, it would mean i could have some fun before i started my lessons.

fatdogslim · 1 year ago

I think that it is a good idea to have obstacles on are streets.it will make walking to school a race and definitely be fun!
i would like to see a lot more of these around.

eleran · 1 year ago

Yes as it would encourage people - especially adults to walk instead of taking the car places. It also means it would be like a playground when your walking around. I think this is a great idea!

dogcat11 · 1 year ago

It’s fun and good for you!

splashy10 · 1 year ago

Yes because some routes in Britain are boring so that would be a good think to do.

mia13 · 1 year ago

I’d love that

kadey.mc · 1 year ago

No because they will not concentrate on going to school 🏫 and on homework 📄.

athenakid · 1 year ago

Yes! The obstacles pictured don’t look too hard to put you off going out, but not easy enough to get bored of. And it would encourage children to leave the house. It’s also a healthy option to just walking, and could improve someone’s mental and physical condition.

athenakid · 1 year ago

And if you look at the picture, there’s places where you can walk and places where you can do the obstacles. So old people wouldn’t struggle.

pandagem · 1 year ago

More active actions can be great for everyone's health and many people would take more time outside. But you might need to buy helmets and safety equipment just to walk outside and some people can't afford it.

athenakid · 1 year ago

I love your name mrrickroll.

luckywolf · 1 year ago

It varies widely on the place you want to get too. For example, if you are in a rush you don’t want any obstacles getting in your way but, if you just want to have fun on the way to school, it would be adventurous to have some challenges along a few walking routes.

candyflos · 1 year ago

Definitely- it would be so much fun!

mistywater · 1 year ago

I would like to, because it would be fun, but it could also be dangerous and slippy. Also, there should be a path for people with pushchairs and elderly and disabled people who may not be able to do the course.

beeunicorn · 1 year ago


octopus5 · 1 year ago

It would be great and fun but could result in injury if you fall.

bonniebill · 1 year ago

I think that it would be quite dangerous to be leaping off things with a hard surface underneath them because people should be wearing protective gear for if they fall off !

annalls · 1 year ago

It would be really fun and encourage people to walk more if the routes were better

lerophic · 1 year ago

I live in a pretty place but it would be even more fun if we had wavy pavements 😁

lerophic · 1 year ago

I think it would be awesome

shruti_b · 1 year ago

I think we should be focusing on other problems, such as the cost-of-living crisis. How can the government spend on such things as adding interesting obstacles on the pavement, when there is a cost-of-living crisis and people are suffering malnutrition due to a lack of food and hygiene? Playgrounds, gyms and parks exist for exercise and to help live a healthy lifestyle.

randomico · 1 year ago

Even though it’s a good idea, it’d be too difficult for ppl with disabilities

mothstar · 1 year ago

I think it’s an awesome idea but I agree with hell0th3re

kinza · 11 months ago

It could be fun and does improve on your mental health, but it's dangerous in a way that old people could be walking(no offense) and they don't have the brains to figure it out. You see, anybody could fall off, making most of the world injured and in hospitals. Not all of these hospitals can carry so many people all at once. I mean, if someone had just come out of hospital they'll have to go back. About 1000000 people will go to hospital in a year. Just a year. They'll die. I maybe be a child but I just think we should leave all of the fun business to the playground. Don't you think. Yous should all think on how it would affect people. Also, there would only be about 5 people in each country. And it would take 1000 years to build the nations up again. Do you want to be the last person standing on our beloved Earth. Please don't suggest this to the government. Just think that every single day, you'd go through this tiring phase. After you've taken you're vote, you'll regret. Trust me, I've done that before. It's a danger to our world. Maybe we should just try it out on one road and see how that goes and then we can continue with doing it on more roads and the countries. Make sure you don't get hurt. :)

elsamyd · 11 months ago

I think that more challenging walking routes would be constructive ( me and my family being big walkers!! ) but I am lucky enough to live somewhere where there are numerous walking routes close to my house.

mimi365 · 10 months ago

Absolutely! My road is very flat and boring so I would love a more challenging walk to school🏃‍♀️