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Edmonton tops the world in return to walking during pandemic

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Alberta’s capital leads major world cities when it comes to getting out for a walk once again.

University of Calgary assistant professor Blake Shaffer used mobility data from Apple to compare changes in walking activity in 89 major world cities, from when pandemic lockdown restrictions hit to current levels.

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“What I did was see how much has each city recovered on that walking index… I looked at all 89 cities and of them Edmonton was the outlier.”

It’s not that Edmontonians are collectively walking more than those in other cities; it’s that residents have shown the largest recovery in activity levels.

“This is a bounceback,” says Shaffer, “not excessive walking by any means. But it is a recovery.

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Shaffer cautions the data comes with caveats, including global weather patterns.

“I took a closer look at how much… temperature changed between mid-March and late April for all of those cities and Edmonton and Calgary have far and away the largest temperature changes.”

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