Promoting physical activity is at the heart of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Active People Healthy Nation initiative. Their goal is to have 27 million more people active by 2027. We know those most at risk for poor outcomes from contracting Covid-19 are those with underlying health conditions, and that many of those chronic conditions are improved through physical exercise. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation/index.html Many people working from home complain of waistlines expanding and may not feel comfortable going to the gym where many go unmasked. The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, and states that even short sessions result in immediate results. Nationally, 22% of adults purchased a bike during Covid-19, according to PeopleForBikes.org, but now the weather is chilly and they may not be riding them. Hopefully some learn they can ride a trainer indoors, interactive cycling programs are very popular right now. Some of us still prefer to take our chances outside in any weather though, where we can also get fresh air and sunshine.
Some may not feel safe exercising outdoors in their communities, though. We know that women and people of color especially report feeling at times threatened while out exercising. Sometimes when people I interpret for learn I bicycle commute everywhere in the city, and often ride outside of it, they are shocked. They ask me if I’m not afraid of being attacked. They are speaking from their own experience. The League of American Cyclists is changing how it understands safety in it’s Bicycle Friendly America program. To read more about this go to https://bikeleague.org/content/taking-immediate-steps-be-anti-racist-bicycle-friendly-america-applications.
With so many people working from home, especially earlier this year, many have had to find other ways to get out and get some exercise. Our trail system has played a big part in that. Trail usage is up all over the U.S. For some numbers and some tips, check out https://www.railstotrails.org/trailblog/?category=Health+and+Wellness.
If you like to nerd out on the data, you can also go to https://bikeleague.org/content/updated-data-physical-activity-our-data-portal to see the numbers linking various chronic conditions with physical activity, including active transportation. They are listed by larger city, (Lincoln is not included) and by state.
What would more active transportation look like here? By state, the numbers show 4% of Nebraskans walk to work, and .5% bicycle to work. If we had data for Lincoln, I hope it would be more than that. There is a lot of information at this website to give us ideas about how to increase these numbers.
Also, the scarcity of dogs for adoption earlier in the pandemic meant more people had them, and had to get out to walk them. I’d never seen so many dogs getting walked in my life than I did in the Spring.