Active living is a way of life that naturally incorporates physical activity into daily routines. Walking with your kids to the park, walking to the store, riding your bike to the beach. It is the way that are bodies are meant to live, active and fluid in everyday life.
Active living is and should be a community-wide effort. Prior to the “suburbia” flight of the 1940’s and 1950’s, communities were structured quite different than they are today. Neighbors talked to one another, the store was a few blocks away, kids and adults walked most places. Why? Because the communities were accessible to everyday needs, they were “walkable”.
Once the suburbs were established things changed drastically. By nature the word means “A residential district located on the outskirts of a city.” Since these communities developed outside the city, naturally they were not easily accessible say to the grocery store or the library. People wanted their “patch of land” and did not want the more condensed way of living that the city had provided. Due to this rapid expansion and the natural architectural design of these neighborhoods, it became impossible for its inhabitants to walk anywhere. Traditional city blocks with sidewalks on each side gave way to curvy wide roads, cul-du-sacs, sometimes with sidewalks only on one side. Regardless, each “development” or “subdivision” was separated by two-lane roads which did not have a pedestrian path. Once you left your development, you could most likely walk to several more, however, the sidewalk would end and you would be forced to return. Instead of the corner store where you could walk to, citizens of the suburbs were now forced to get in their car and drive even further to a strip of stores to purchase their groceries and their clothes. After a day of shopping, they would then return to their cars and drive back to their respected suburb.
As you have heard, this is one theory on why Americans are overweight and suffering from a vast array of chronic diseases. To save time on this post I will not go into the explanations and theories. You are an adult and smart to say the least. Make your own conclusion.
Fast forward to now. Proponents of “new urbanism” are leading the movement to revert back to walkable communities. According to Wikipedia, “new urbanism” is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s and continues to reform many aspects of real estate development and urban planning. Simply put, revert back to traditional neighborhoods where people worked, played, lived AND walked.
If your like me, you live in a suburb. This might be by choice as I know it is for our family. We moved across the country and asked our realtor where the best schools were and “BAM”, here we are. With that in mind, you are not a slave to your surroundings. Get out there! Drive to the park and walk if you have too. Walk around your communities, and as one familiar phrase puts it, “just do it!” Can I get a kickback on that promotion? 🙂
The goal is to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day. This can be achieved in many different ways, from walking or bicycling to playing or gardening in a neighborhood park.
Active living is about creating healthy communities that have safe and convenient choices for people to walk, bike and be physically active on a daily basis. Consider these facts from the most recent research summaries by Active Living Research:
* People who live in neighborhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance have 35% lower risk of obesity.
* 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home meet recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk are active enough.
* Creating and improving places to be active can result in a 25% increase in the percentage of people who exercise at least three times a week.
* More children walk to school when there are sidewalks
Make the little changes and do what you can to MOVE and have a life that is Fit For A Mom and her family!