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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
City's slow pace of life revealed
Shoppers in Queen Street, Cardiff
People in Cardiff were not as rushed as in other cities
The pace of life in the capital of Wales is almost the slowest in the world, according to a study into how fast we walk.

Research carried out in Cardiff showed that people were in less of a hurry than in 30 other cities worldwide.

London stepped up to the mark as having the UK's fastest walkers, followed by Edinburgh.

The University of Hertfordshire ranked Cardiff 31st in a table of 34 cities for fast walking paces.

The study was undertaken by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman in collaboration with the UK's cultural relations agency the British Council.

Researchers discovered that the speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city.

Prof Wiseman wanted to see if there had been a change in the pace of life from the early 1990s when a similar study was undertaken.

And the results showed that the pace of life is now 10% faster than it was a decade and a half ago.

ARE YOU TOO FAST?
Women walking
Do you seem to glance at your watch more than others?
When someone takes too long to get to the point, do you feel like hurrying them along?
Are you often the first person to finish at meal times?
When walking along a street, do you often feel frustrated because you are stuck behind others?
Would you become irritable if you sat for an hour without doing anything?
Do you walk out of restaurants or shops if you encounter even a short queue?
If you are caught in slow-moving traffic, do you seem to get more annoyed than other drivers?
Test by Prof Wiseman. He says five or more "yes" answers and you may want to "slow down"'

The study was conducted in cities around the world on 22 August 2006 between the hours of 11.30am and 2pm local time.

Researchers secretly recorded the time it took 35 men and women to walk along a 60ft stretch of pavement.

They discounted people using mobiles or carrying heavy shopping.

People in Singapore came out as the fastest, with Copenhagen in Denmark, Madrid in Spain, Guangzhou in China and Dublin in Ireland in the top five worldwide cities.

New York and London came in at number eight along with several other cities.

Edinburgh were ranked 20th in the table with a walking pace of 13.29 seconds followed by Cardiff at number 31 with a walking pace of 16.81 seconds.

Cardiff came ahead of Bern in Switzerland, Manama in Bahrain and Blantyre in Malawi.

Prof Wiseman, who plans to publish the results of the research in a new book called Quirkology said: "The pace of life in out major cities is now much quicker than before.

"The psychology is basically that people's walking pace is determined by how much they think they're in a hurry, how quickly they thing they should be doing things."

"I believe a lot of it is technology driven. What's amazing is that these days you press send on an email and if someone hasn't responded in 10 minutes you think `where are they?"

He said the original research showed there was a higher risk of heart disease in cities which had a fast pace of life.

So could this mean Cardiff is likely to be one of the healthier cities in the world?

"I'm not a large advocate of slow living, " said Prof Wiseman.

"But it's important to know this trend is happening because for some people it's going to be a problem."

BBC Wales news website went onto the streets of Cardiff to see what people thought about the new study and it appears that although the research suggests a slower pace of life in the city, many people simply didn't have the time to stop and chat.

"Sorry I'm on my break", "I don't have time", and "I've got a bus to catch" were among the responses given.

But Debbie Lear who was visiting for the day from the Forest of Dean agreed with the calmer pace of life offered in the city.

"It's a lovely place, we are just having a look around and will go and have a cup of coffee soon and just enjoy the day."

And Shirley Green from Pontypool agreed.

"I think it depends if you are on your lunch break or if you are out shopping for the day. If you are on your lunch then it's a really quick zip around the place but if I'm shopping, well I like to take my time."




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