What comes to mind when you think about exercise? Running? Spinning? Weight lifting?
While those are all traditional forms of moving more, the definition of exercise is expanding. Natural and everyday movement — like walking to school or riding your bike to the store — can be some of the simplest ways to get healthy. And, best of all, you don’t need a gym membership. All you need is the support of your community and Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Opens New Window.
Healthy Hometown is a community health improvement initiative. It has identified proven tactics that communities and residents can do to make being active easier. These tactics are meant for all ages and all levels of abilities. They can be implemented in schools, nursing homes, worksites, parks — wherever people are spending their time.
Here are some easy ways to get active and move more:
- Promote stairwell use by posting motivational signs and make stairwells more inviting.
- Incorporate movement and short physical activity breaks into core subject lessons at school.
- Add bicycle parking in several locations throughout your community. (e.g., bike racks, lockers, shelters).
- Establish or enhance existing greenspace and parks (e.g., adequate lighting, splash pads, disc golf course, etc.)
Local community government can even get involved to:
- Establish or enhance access to places for physical activity (e.g., building/expanding sidewalks and bike trails, developing water trails, installing exercise equipment).
- Implement a Complete Streets Policy
- Develop a Bicycle and/or Pedestrian Master Plan that connects people to where they need to go.
- Implement a Safe Routes to School External Site program.
A Healthy Hometown success story
Mason City, Iowa, is a great example of how a town can come together to make moving more a priority. Among its recent improvements include a city trail system where residents can walk, run or ride bikes for miles and not cross over the same area twice. And, all across Mason City, residents will find new bike racks and bike repair stations that encourage active commuting. No bike? No problem. The city’s Active Living and Transportation Commission recently implemented a bike share program, so residents without a bike or visitors can rent bikes.
There are a number of cities that are getting involved in Healthy Hometown and taking steps to make the healthy choice easier. Will yours be next?
Healthy Hometown article series
We continue to answer your questions about Healthy Hometown, including what it really means to eat well, move more and feel better. Check out these articles: