New “Walking Revolution” Report Spotlights the Power of Walkability
By Mary Lauran Hall on March 20, 2013
A new report from the Every Body Walk! Collaborative – an educational campaign led by a dozen organizations including the Alliance and coordinated by America Walks - highlights the importance of walking and walkability for health, business, and communities. The report has its roots in a gathering last December at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Wellness in Washington, DC. The meeting laid groundwork for increased collaboration to build a national movement for walkability to dramatically increase walking as a major form of transportation.
People need regular physical activity in order to stay healthy — many doctors recommend 30 minutes per day for adults and an hour per day for kids. Study after study have proven the benefits of exercise for health: regular physical activity reduces instances of heart disease and high blood pressure, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost half, and decreases depression as effectively as Prozac.
Still, over half of American adults don’t get the recommended minimum amount of aerobic physical activity. Countering this trend can be as simple as taking a walk.
“Our country’s low rate of physical activity compared to other nations is not just laziness,” writes Jay Walljasper in the new Every Body Walk! report. “To get Americans back on their feet — and to enjoy improved health and other widespread benefits that arise when people walk — we need to make movement, once again, a natural part of daily life.”
People are likely to walk as part of their everyday transportation when a shop, workplace, or transit station is located close to home. In too many communities, our neighborhoods have become inaccessible for walking as government agencies have become accustomed to building at a scale intended for automobile travel.
Advocates can help by speaking up for national, state, and local investments in transportation policies that improve walking. Making it easier to walk by building and repairing sidewalks and investing in neighborhoods built at a human scale can bring walking back into our everyday lives.
The report concludes that “making everyone’s hometowns more walkable will not only increase our health and reduce our waistlines, but also foster the convivial interaction that strengthens communities socially, culturally and economically.”
Check out the Every Body Walk! report below, or download it as a PDF here.
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