In a 2014 study published by the Physical Activity Council, it was found that 28% of Americans aged six and older were physically inactive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the long-term consequences of physical inactivity includes obesity and diabetes, and increases one’s risk for dying prematurely. Additionally, in 2009, US families drove 30 billion miles to take their children to and from school, at a cost of $5 billion in fuel.
Outdoor exercise provides many benefits for both children and their families. The most important advantage may be the health benefits associated with at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day, which is the minimum amount recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR EXERCISE
According to EveryDay Health, Inc. outdoor exercise has many advantages over indoor exercises. Outdoor exercise provides vitamin D through sunshine for those who may be deficient. Additionally, outdoor exercise offers cleaner air, as the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is more than twice as polluted as outdoor air. And in regards to mental health, outdoor exercise is akin to “exercise for your mind,” in the sense that your mind has to focus differently than it would at a gym.
Read more about benefits on exercise outdoors here: http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/outdoor-exercise-benefits.aspx
OBESITY: A LOCAL AND A NATIONAL CONCERN
According to the Quad City Times, obesity among U.S. children has tripled in the last thirty years. According to the CDC, 20 percent of children and 18 percent of adolescents were obese in 2007-2008. According to the Huffington Post, Iowa ranked as the 18th most obese state in the U.S., with 29% of adult reported as being obese.
The good news is these grave health concerns have preventable solutions in the form of diet and exercise, which are critical in combating not just obesity, but heart disease, and other chronic diseases. QC Trails, the Be Healthy QC Project, and the Safe Routes to School Plan are all designed in part to promote healthy exercise and better access and opportunities for families and children to walk, bicycle, and engage in other forms of outdoor physical activity in the Quad Cities.