Walkable Communities Find Their Stride from Coast to Coast


| 10/2/2017 10:59:00 AM


Tags: walkable communities, healthy communities, Jay Walljasper,
 

Photo by Johnny Silvercloud

Few things in life relieve stress, instill creativity and boost health and more than taking a stroll. “Walking is a man’s best medicine,” Hippocrates declared in the 4th Century BCE. “To solve a problem, walk around,” St. Jerome advised during Roman times. “When we walk, we come home to ourselves,” observes Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

This ancient wisdom is now backed up by modern science. A flurry of recent medical studies document the physical and mental health effects of walking as little as 30 minutes a day.

“The human body is designed to walk. Humans walk better than any other species on earth,” explained George Halvorson — former CEO of the  healthcare network Kaiser Permanente — at the 2017 National Walking Summit in St. Paul. The three-day events was organized by America Walks — a non-profit group encompassing more than 800 state and local organizations.

“We get less disease when we walk. We recover from disease sooner when we walk,” he said, noting half of all US healthcare costs stem from chronic diseases, which walking helps prevent and treat. “We can save Medicare when we walk.”

The Summit — which attracted more than 600 community leaders, health professionals, planners and public officials from 45 states — celebrated the growing public awareness of walking’s many benefits. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy urged Americans to walk more in a Call to Action in 2015, and the National Association of Realtors reports that “places to take walks” are the #1 quality home buyers look for in a neighborhood. Recent research also links walkable places to economic opportunities, social equity, stronger communities and a cleaner environment.




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