Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Walk Your Way to Good Health

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Walk Your Way to Good Health

Article excerpt

New collaborative promotes walkable communities

There has been a major development in health and medicine - the discovery of a treatment that is not only safe, easy and fun, but has been known to reduce the incidence of heart disease and blood pressure, decrease symptoms of depression, and save Americans billions of dollars a year. And it's free. It's called walking.

Walking is the most popular form of physical activity in the United States. Although studies show that fewer trips today are made by walking and biking (www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1435711) and that the percentage of children walking to school today is less than 40 years ago, according to the recent A Walking Revolution report, Americans are walking much more than they realize (www.everybodywalk. org/media_assets/EBW_WALK ING_REVOLUTION.pdf). In an effort to encourage people to walk more and to build policies and strategies that will make communities everywhere more walkable, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin recently announced that she will be issuing a call to action on walking. This has compelled groups such as park and recreation agencies to re-examine barriers to walking for all people and implement evidence-based strategies to overcome those barriers.

People who reside close to parks and open spaces are approximately two to three times more likely to take a walk within a two-day period than their counterparts who have no parks near their home. For this reason, efforts to enhance accessibility to parks and trails as a means of promoting walkable communities are critical, but a number of obstacles exist. Disparities in the distribution of and access to public parks and trails impede walkable communities. People are more likely to walk when they feel protected from traffic and safe from crime and hazards. Trails should be properly maintained to avoid injury and provide a safe environment for wheelchairs, strollers and the visually impaired. People need to know where to find safe and convenient places to walk in their communities.

Local park and recreation agencies are working to overcome barriers by working with community partners to develop evidence-based policies and changes to the environment that support walkability. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.