Best foot forward: Exploring the barriers and enablers to active travel among 50-70 year olds

Best foot forward cover

This report, published by the Centre for Ageing Better, looks at the barriers people aged 50 - 70 years old face to walking and cycling, and argues that action is needed from national and local government, service providers and health systems to get people moving.

According to the report, avoiding the stresses and annoyances of driving – like traffic and parking – is a key motivation for walking or cycling; however, fear of traffic and a lack of confidence act as barriers to cycling.

These issues can be remedied with good-quality cycle paths that are separated from traffic. Well-maintained dedicated footpaths are crucial too, as is proximity to shops and services so that they can be easily reached on foot or by bike.

The report also found that health conditions and the perception that they’re not fit enough are major barriers to people in their 50s and 60s getting active in this way, but wanting to improve fitness can also be a motivation.

The report summarises the findings of a review of the existing evidence and primary qualitative research with 50 individuals in this age cohort to fill gaps identified in the evidence and, for the first time, sets out the factors that govern active travel behaviours in people aged 50 to 70 across the UK.