In 2015, Health Forward is celebrating 10 Years of Grantmaking. But we are nothing without the organizations that work every day on eliminating barriers to quality health in our community. To mark this milestone, we are launching a special series — A Healthy 10. Each month we’ll highlight one of 10 areas of health that saw progress in the past decade. August is active living.
Whether it’s an evening spent walking with a friend, playing on the playground with your children, or zooming around the neighborhood on a bike, active living is a cornerstone of better health, independence and quality of life.
It builds physical and mental health. It not only helps manage an existing disease and helps prevent other health conditions, but it also gets people out into their communities, meeting neighbors, having fun, and building healthier, more supportive communities wherever they live.
Actively living blog posts:
But not everyone shares the same opportunities and access for physical activity. While many in our community have easy access to safe walking paths and to community centers and gyms, others live in areas of high crime, no sidewalks and few parks or paths for biking and walking.
Over the past decade, there has been a growing recognition that where we live, work and play matters to our health. And that the design of the built environment — the physical structures and infrastructure of communities — plays a significant role in shaping our health. When a community is built properly and thoughtfully, active living extends past just exercise. It becomes a way of life.
Changes to the built environment can have a positive impact on many health-related issues, from diabetes and asthma, to community violence. Decisions about land use, zoning, and community design have implications for neighborhood access to healthy foods, and the level of safety and attractiveness of neighborhoods for activities such as walking and biking.
Over the past decade, Health Forward has been proud to support projects where local residents and organizations mobilized public and private resources to make changes in their physical environments to improve the health and quality of life for their citizens. Such changes include building walking paths and improving sidewalks, transforming vacant lots into community gardens, parks and playgrounds and offering affordable exercise classes.
With the help of our partners, we’re turning blighted neighborhoods into thriving communities that entice people to get out and be active.
This blog post is part of A Healthy 10.