Be Active Your Way

The Be Active Your Way Blog is the official blog of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Follow the blog for updates about the development of the second edition of the Guidelines and insights from health and physical activity professionals about translating the Guidelines into practice.

Whether we are walking through a public plaza on the way to work, using the local library, picnicking in the park, or attending a meeting at town hall, we routinely interface with public spaces in our everyday lives. The Center for Active Design (CfAD) explores how public spaces can be designed to support community health through a discussion of the new Civic Design Guidelines and the redevelopment of the Detroit Riverfront. This is just the beginning of a movement happening in communities across the United States, where the public spaces we interact with everyday can be designed and leveraged in support of community trust, participation, and stewardship – aspects of social cohesion that can strengthen neighborhood relationships and overcome past divisions.
Playgrounds are a time honored tradition and a beloved part of everyone’s childhood.  Research shows that the benefits of play are enormous on childhood development and physical activity levels, not to mention playgrounds are just fun. Even with accessible playgrounds, it’s not always a given that families will be able to truly play together and share experiences. Many playgrounds merely provide access, but don’t fully embrace universal design or consider the safety features that are located around the playground. Universal design is the way to go when designing outdoor spaces.  It allows for welcoming, inclusive, and fun environments where all individuals can participate and enjoy the outdoors.  Including people with disability on the planning process is the icing on the cake.
Lack of time is one of the most commonly cited barriers to physical activity. The good news is, research shows it is possible for a person to improve their health by incorporating even a small amount of exercise into their daily routine. Health professionals can share these three key facts about physical activity with patients to help encourage them to meet the recommendations in the Physical Activity Guidelines.
A new report out from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the Y, Making Strides: 2018 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities, analyzes state policy in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to provide a snapshot of each state’s support for walking, biking, and physical activity. The report cards look at 27 indicators of support across four key areas: Complete Streets and Active Transportation, Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding, Active Neighborhoods and Schools, and State Physical Activity Planning and Support. All of the indicators studied in the report cards have a great impact on a person’s ability to be physically active depending on where they live.
Physical literacy has been defined as the ability to move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person. Fran Cleland, Past President of SHAPE America, explains why physical literacy is important, the role of SHAPE America's 5 National Standards, and how Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs can impact the physical activity behaviors of young Americans.