To promote exercise, planners must look beyond cities

To encourage more active lifestyles, public health agencies recommend mixed-use neighborhoods and “complete” streets that are friendlier to walkers and bikers, but new Cornell University research finds that while those strategies increase physical activity, an urban bias limits their applicability in many parts of the country.

Planners in suburban and rural communities should focus more on promoting recreational programs, expanding transportation options and creating safer environments to help an aging population get more exercise, according to the researchers’ analysis of more than 1,300 U.S. counties and cities.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on

“These are things we can think about doing in any community,” said Mildred Warner, professor of global development and of city and regional planning. “If your community is investing in recreation and social activity, they’re more likely to address obesity and other problems linked to physical inactivity.”


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3 responses to “To promote exercise, planners must look beyond cities

  1. My parents come from a country that is bike friendly. The one feature that stands out for me outside of the urban areas is a cycling infra structure along side every divided highway. Image a robust bike lane along the 400 series highway in Ontario or along the Interstate highways in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great. I rode in San Diego, CA some years ago, but we were on a highway with a bike lane and felt perfectly safe.


      • It is a chicken and egg matter. The more bikes on the road, the more incentives to improve the infrastructure. The better the infrastructure, the more you will see people out there cycling.
        In NA we have single mindedly built infrastructure for motor vehicles. Changing that comes with major barriers as we can all imagine.

        Liked by 1 person

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