Step it up outdoors

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-10293" src="" alt=" Mother and father swinging his daughter on the outside "width =" 930 "height =" 500 "/>

Physical activity can improve your health. Physically active people tend to live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. Physical activity can also help control weight and improve students' academic performance. Walking is an easy way to start and maintain a physically active lifestyle, and parks are a good place to start.

Physical Activity Made Easy

People of all abilities can enjoy safe and convenient places to walk, run, cycle, skate or use wheelchairs. The decision to walk is personal, but this decision is easier if the walkability of the community is improved. It is important to connect places that people regularly use with sidewalks or safe and attractive trails, especially between schools, workplaces, parks and recreation facilities that are at a distance from one another.

Walk in the Park <img class="alignright size-full wp-image-10294" src="" alt=" The community of West Wabasso, Florida, worked with the County Health Department of Indian River and other government agencies to create safe public places for the walking, exercise and play. The project established bus routes, installed street lights and sidewalks, and improved local parks. Residents completed a survey of changes in their community. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they spent more time doing sport outside than two years earlier. They said that changes in their neighborhood, especially street lights and the creation of safe places to exercise and walk outside, have made a big difference. "Width =" 339 "height =" 264 "/>

In the United States, less than 40% of residents live within half a mile of a park's boundary, and only 55% of youths have access to parks or playgrounds , recreation centers and sidewalks. However, there is evidence that people with better access to green environments, such as parks and recreation areas, tend to walk more than those with limited access. Well-designed parks and trails can promote physical activity and community interaction and provide mental health benefits, such as stress reduction.

Design matters

To help people be active, parks and recreational spaces can provide opportunities for various types of activities, such as walking, hiking and team sports. Programs can be designed to attract a wide range of visitors – age groups, cultures and ability levels – throughout the year. Park programs can also help participants overcome barriers to physical activity, including physical limitations and safety issues. Walking groups or buddy systems can help give people multiple opportunities to walk each week. Park entrances with universal access for several types of active transportation can promote cycling and walking to and from the park.

In September 2015, the Office of the Surgeon General of the US Department of Health and Human Services published Step It Up! The Surgeon General's call for action to promote walking and walking communities (the Call for Action) to recognize walking as an important way to promote the 39, physical activity in most people. The Call for Action aims to increase walking across the United States by calling for better access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair, as well as a culture that supports these activities for all ages and abilities.

Learn more


Leave a Reply