Everybody knows they need to exercise more and eat less. They probably even know that getting some physical activity—even walking for 20 minutes—can reduce the chance of getting diseases like heart disease and hypertension, controlling stress and keeping the brain engaged. Plus, studies show that people who spend more time each day sitting (watching TV, driving around or sitting at a desk) are more likely to die early than those who don’t.
That’s all real. We know it, and that’s why we promote health in the communities where we live and work. But then the unrealisitc excuses kick in. That you have to run a marathon to be in shape. That you have to exercise by yourself. That you’ll never be able to fit in another thing with work, school, family…whatever's taking up time.
We need to correct that and show people that you can see real health gains by taking a short walk, and that getting any exercise is better than none.
America’s Walking Renaissance
You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to Heidi Simon and her colleagues at America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, who just released a new (free!) book: America’s Walking Renaissance.
“America’s Walking Renaissance is a journey across the US, taking a look at walkable cities of all shapes and sizes and providing resources and information on the growing walking movement,” Simon said in an email interview. “From Phoenix to Birmingham to Northeast Iowa, we look at how the US is taking steps towards walkability and look at lessons [from] other communities.”
She, along with Jay Walljasper and Kate Kraft, spent more than a year interviewing, researching and visiting locations all around the States to document successful walking programs. The aim in this project is to share information along with actionable tips, so more organizations and health educators can spark walking programs where they are.
Successful Walking Programs to Copy
A few examples from the free ebook:
Vision Zero, active in more than a dozen cities to reduce the number of walkers who are killed when crossing the street. Vision Zero pushes campaigns through local law enforcement and public education.
Better Bridges Bash, in St. Paul, MN, which puts on street parties in urban environments that are bisected by freeway bridges and overpasses.
Arlington, VA, a success story among suburban cities. Arlington has been named the most walkable suburb in the country. The city transformed itself over years, revamping everything from sidewalk space to accessibility of stores.
“It is our hope that this book will serve as an inspiration for communities looking to embrace walking and motivation for those already on the walking path,” says Simon.
Download the Free Ebook
Download America’s Walking Renaissance for free.