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Date: January 15, 2008

Research Helps Walkers (and Dogs!) Keep Resolutions

If you made a new year’s resolution to take yourself or your dog out for a walk more often and wonder how you can keep that resolution, the University of Victoria’s Ryan Rhodes wants to hear from you.

The faculty member in UVic’s School of Exercise Science, Health and Physical education (EPHE) is looking for participants for two new research projects on overcoming barriers that keep people from exercising.

“Research tells us that brisk walking offers similar physical and psychological benefits as more strenuous activities,” says Rhodes, “and the majority of people prefer walking to other forms of exercise. Yet, research also indicates that people may not walk because they don’t think of it as ‘real’ exercise that will do them any good.”

Rhodes is looking for 100 people for each study from all age groups who currently walk no more than 30 minutes, three times a week. One group will be walking on their own or with friends. The other group must have dogs to take with them.

“We know that 30 to 40 per cent of people who walk their dogs would like to do it more often,” says Rhodes. “Hopefully, this research will help us understand what would motivate them best to achieve that goal.”

Each group will be divided into three sub-groups to receive different interventions so that Rhodes can study the impact on the participants’ motivation and walking. “The intervention packages may take the form of education, tips and strategies to keep walking, or other information. We want to see which one works best.”

The projects involve a relatively low time commitment and ask for participants to wear a pedometer on two occasions over a week and the completion of two short questionnaires. They will also receive a small honorarium for their participation.

To participate in either of the walking research projects contact Rhodes’ research associate Bonnie Fiala at 250-661-4002 or fialab@uvic.ca .
Media contacts:
Ryan Rhodes (EPHE) at 250-721-8384 or rhodes@uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)