Survey Shows Disconnect between Knowing Exercise’s Benefits and Actually Exercising 

Credit: News Canada

Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative, The Milton Reporter

A new study has revealed that while a majority of Canadians believes exercise helps in maintaining cognitive health, only six out of 10 Canadians actually turn that knowledge into action. 

The results were obtained from the Bike for Brain Health survey conducted by Baycrest. As many as 1510 Canadians participated in this survey. 

A vast majority (93%) of Canadians of all ages believe exercise plays a significant role in their emotional state, mental clarity, and wellbeing. 

People also predominantly (87%) understand that physical exercise is one of the best ways to maintain cognitive abilities and delay the onset of dementia. 

Finally, Canadians overwhelmingly (92%) express willingness to be more physically active if it means preventing cognitive decline. 

However, despite people’s knowledge of the strong connection between exercise and brain health, there is drop-off in converting that sentiment into action. 

Specifically, only six-in-10 Canadians (61%) engage in exercise for the purpose of maintaining brain health.

Only one-in-three (33%) Canadians have increased their level of exercise since the start of the pandemic. Younger Canadians are considerably more likely than older adults to have increased their physical activity over the past two years (39% vs 29%).

“These numbers are encouraging, especially for younger Canadians,” says Josh Cooper, President and CEO, Baycrest Foundation. 

“While people may think brain health is a tomorrow problem, part of what we do at Baycrest is to encourage all generations to get a head start, especially through being active.” 

To that end, Baycrest is hosting the inaugural Mattamy Homes Bike for Brain Health event on June 5, where participants will have the opportunity to cycle 25, 50 or 75km along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

Finally, the survey found that 46 per cent of Canadians coast-to-coast admit that cycling outdoors helps them sharpen their focus, find perspective, and enjoy their city, especially during the pandemic. 

Nearly six-in-10 Canadians (58%) feel that given the last two years of lockdowns, they look forward to their city/community allowing public, recreational events, such as cycling and running, to come back in person.