For Health Providers
Despite a growing body of evidence of the health benefits of physical activity, most children and adults in the United States need to Move More. But, bringing about lifestyle change—at both the individual and population level—is not easy.
On a daily basis, health professionals in both primary care and public health settings are working on integrated strategies that encourage people to be more physically active. For many walking is the first step towards becoming physically active. (And the good news is that all trails, to date, in the Quad Cities are free!)
People may be motivated to get out on a trail, but there’s a critical need to provide them with information about where to go. The QC Trails website is a helpful outdoor physical activity resource because descriptions for hundreds of miles of trails are brought together in one place.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to introduce and integrate QC Trails when there are opportunities to promote trails for exercise and physical activity:
Walk the walk! Spend some time on QC Trails to become familiar with the website and trails around your office and the region. Find Trails and discover for yourself how many incredible places there are to walk, hike, bike, or paddle. Go check out a new trail you didn’t know about. Be ready to share your own experience finding trails with others.
Or really dive in and start a worksite wellness competition focused on trails with staff in your own office. Have your colleagues create personal accounts and see who visits the most trails or earns the most badges (see Getting Started).
Identify great “first” trails. We all want new trail users to have a positive experience on their first few outings. Use QC Trails to search for and shortlist great “first trails,” especially those that are rated easy; are short, flat and paved; have convenient and ample parking; and have restrooms, parks, or benches along the way. People also tend to like and use loop trails more often.
Share printed materials. Help people remember the QCTrails.org URL, but don’t expect that they’ll rush right home and jump on the Internet.
Print out hard copies of specific QC Trails pages and make those available in your office as hand-outs along with the QC Trails general information sheet.
Make a table or wall display featuring great local trails and provide more information about trail groups, tips for being outside, and healthy trail snacks.
Become a regular! Some folks may become motivated to use QC Trails on a regular basis. Let them know that they can sign up for free, personal accounts to Log Trails that they have completed, and mention that Earning Badges on QC Trails is a fun way to motivate individuals to get out and explore more (see Getting Started). Encourage them to seek out more difficult or longer trails as they get more comfortable using trails.
Connect with nature. Don’t solely promote QC Trails with people looking to be more physically active. There are broader, emotional benefits for people when they step away from their screens and get outside immersed in natural, green, and quiet spaces. QC Trails can also help you find trails to these open spaces as well.