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Active Living is a way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routines. The goal is to accumulate at least 30 minutes of activity each day. Individuals may achieve this by walking or bicycling for transportation, exercise or pleasure; playing in the park; working in the yard; taking the stairs; and using recreation facilities.
Active living communities are places where it is easy to integrate physical activity into daily routines. While there is no template for what an active community looks like, there are general characteristics that help define an active community:
There are also 3 guiding principles that work in concert to create an active living community.
Current Environment: the design and maintenance of the built environment and transportation networks must make it safe and attractive for people to walk or bicycle;
Policies & Planning: planning documents, municipal ordinances and development review processes assist decision-makers to create a community vision that includes walking and bicycling; and
Programs & Promotion: education and outreach in schools, neighborhoods, and worksites are essential to encourage people to participate in physical activity
It’s good for your health….
Physical activity is recognized as one of the most efficient and powerful tools for preventing chronic diseases and for promoting health and well-being of the entire population.
(American Journal of Health Promotion, March/April 2007)
On a daily basis, each additional hour spent driving is associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity, while each additional kilometer walked is associated with a 5% reduction in this likelihood.
(American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2004)
It’s good for the environment…
A family that walks two miles a day rather than driving those miles will prevent, on average, 730 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.
It’s good for the economy….
The Smart Growth Main Streets program found that active community development can provide multiple levels of economic growth. The creation of walkable shopping and business districts within communities has resulted in about approximately $3 billion in economic growth among shops within those districts.
(International Economic Development Council, 2006)
It saves you money….
The average annual price of keeping an automobile running is at least $6,000; and the cost of running a bike for a year costs less than $300