Take a Page out of Move Your Way’s Playbook: Actionable Strategies to Promote Physical Activity in Your Community

For 3 years, ODPHP worked with 10 pilot communities to implement, test, and improve the Move Your Way® campaign — the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ promotional campaign for the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Pilot communities held events, started programs, and built partnerships to get people moving. 

With pilot communities’ help and involvement, we developed the Move Your Way Community Playbook, an implementation guide to help organizations plan for, conduct, and evaluate physical activity campaigns and activities. The playbook offers tips and resources for any community organization — no matter its size, budget, or prior experience with physical activity programs. Check out this blog post about Move Your Way’s grab-and-go resources.

As part of the playbook, we made a list of events, programs, and activities that pilot communities have used over the years. You can adapt the ideas below to encourage physical activity in your community — whether you’re launching a campaign or just trying to plan activities and events to get people moving. You can also check out more examples and ideas in the playbook

Use built environment promotion  

The places where people live, work, and play make a big difference when it comes to encouraging people to get active. Try using these strategies that take people’s environment into account:

  • Put up point-of-decision prompts, like signs with Move Your Way messaging, near stairwells or wheelchair ramps to encourage people to skip the elevator and get active instead.
  • Place wayfinding and educational signage near trails, parks, and busy pedestrian zones to let people know the distance to other nearby locations — or to communicate key physical activity messaging. For example, put a sign next to a trail mile marker that says: “Get a little more active each day. Move Your Way.”
  • Plan a launch event for a new or restored park, trail, or greenway. Promote the features of the new infrastructure and use Move Your Way fact sheets and posters to encourage people to get active.  

Get creative and have fun with it! Move Your Way pilot community Sioux City, Iowa, planned a scavenger hunt, encouraging people to find Move Your Way signs along a local trail

Host community events 

Bringing the community together for a fun event is a great way to promote and teach about physical activity. You can:

  • Host your own Move Your Way-themed event, like a family 5K run or walk — or a “try-a-thon” so people can sample different physical activities. 
  • Join existing community events. Promote getting active by handing out Move Your Way materials at local fairs or organizing an activity break during a summer concert series.

Events are also a great way to highlight places where people in your community can get active. For example, Move Your Way pilot partner Southern Nevada Health District organized a 5K and Family Fun Walk at Craig Ranch Regional Park that brought more than 300 people together to explore the park’s many trails.

Advertise in the community  

Physical activity messages work best when people see them in many places. Here are some ways to distribute Move Your Way materials and advertise in your community:

  • Get creative about where you advertise. If your budget allows, consider Move Your Way educational billboards, bus ads, or other advertisements in places that get a lot of traffic. 
  • Work with local partners. You don’t have to distribute materials on your own! Reach out to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, community health clinics, and other organizations with an interest in promoting physical activity. For example, Columbus, Ohio partnered with local community organizations to include Move Your Way materials in COVID care packages.
  • Use social media. Take advantage of Move Your Way’s social media messages and graphics to promote your campaign across platforms. Some Move Your Way pilot communities have taken social media a step further and held challenges encouraging participants to share photos and videos of how they move — check out Streator, Illinois’ social media competition for best physical activity photo or video.

Learn more about the Move Your Way pilot communities and how they’ve been bringing Move Your Way to life. And don’t forget to check out the full Community Playbook and use the Move Your Way campaign materials for different audiences to help encourage physical activity in your community. 

Categories: health.gov Blog