This month, we're sharing information on our newest initiative out of the Chronic Disease Prevention & Control Division! The Boston Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) project aims to make it easier for all Bostonians to access opportunities to engage in regular physical activity, purchase healthy affordable food, and live in smoke-free housing. Join us as we discuss the importance of these efforts to make all of Boston's neighborhoods healthier places to live, work, pray, learn, and play.
We are encouraging Boston residents to "Stay Active" by using active transportation in their daily activities. Active transportation is any form of human-powered transportation. It can also be referred to as "non-motorized" transportation. By adding more physical activity time to your regular daily routine, active transportation is one of the best things you can do to support good health – and it doesn't even require a gym membership!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Staying active can help you live longer by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure, and improving cholesterol levels. Engaging in active transportation activities can reduce one's risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Research has shown that those who stay active have a lower risk of colon cancer than those who are not active. Staying active can lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Women who stay active have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are not active. As you age, protecting your bones, joints, and muscles is very important. Engaging in regular physical activity - including active transportation - can help with arthritis. It can also facilitate better thinking and learning, and sharpen your judgment skills. Staying active can lower your risk of depression and can help you sleep better at night. It can even help control your weight by burning more calories than driving. Walking, taking the bus, jogging, or running can have a lasting impact on your overall health!
There are many different ways to engage in active transportation, such as walking to the bus stop or cycling to school or work.
Examples of active transportation include:
- Taking public transportation (which almost always involves some walking on one or both ends of a trip)
Engaging in daily active transportation can have a variety of positive benefits for your health and overall well-being:
- Health- Active transportation provides an opportunity to be physically active on a regular basis.
- Social- Active transportation increases social interactions by giving you the opportunity to interact with neighbors and fellow city residents.
- Transportation- Active transportation reduces road congestion by getting rid of cars on the road, which causes less road traffic.
- Environment- Active transportation is environmentally-friendly, as it decreases pollution and carbon monoxide when the number of cars on the road decreases.
- Economic- Active transportation saves money on gas and parking. Many schools and employers offer discounted MBTA passes. Check with your administrator regarding this benefit!
You may be asking yourself how I can start incorporating active transportation as part of my day? Start by walking or biking on your daily errands or to get to work and/or school. If you are unable to be active on a daily basis it is good to start moderately walking to the bus stop or corner store. The health benefits of staying active outweigh the risks, so start slowly!
If you don't have a bike, rent one near your home, office, or school at Hubway stations throughout the City of Boston. Hubway is a bike sharing system in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville that provides more than 1,300 bikes at 140 stations.
By moving everyday you are improving your health and increasing your chances of living longer--by controlling your weight, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
For more information on active transportation in Boston, please visit www.bostonbikes.com and follow @HealthyBoston and #Stayactive on Twitter and Facebook www.facebook.com/HealthyBoston.
The Boston Partnerships to Improve Community Health project (PICH) is a partnership of the Boston Alliance for Community Health and the Boston Public Health Commission to make it easier for residents to make healthy choices in physical activity, nutrition and smoke-free housing, by implementing policy, systems and environmental changes throughout the city. This three-year initiative is funded by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is working to reduce the prevalence of obesity, tobacco use and exposure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the City of Boston.