Skycast X

Active Living

Being physically active can improve your quality of life in many ways. It strengthens your heart, lungs, bone and muscles; give your more energy; helps control your weight and blood pressure; improves your sleep; and improves your mood. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke. (Learn more about health »)

What can you do?

Just increasing your activity level a little will improve your fitness, and you don’t have to join a gym — there are plenty of ways to exercise on your own:

  • Brisk walking.
  • Gardening and yard work.
  • Housework.
  • Dancing.
  • Riding a bike.
  • Playing with your kids or grandkids.

Some resources to help you get started:

  • Parks and recreation departments are a great resource for active living. Contact your local parks and recreation department to find out about local parks, walking and biking trails, group exercise classes, community center activities and other events.
  • Bicycling — Those who want to ride a bike for exercise, pleasure or to commute have many resources in the Kansas City area:Bike commuting info.
    • Bike trail map.
    • BikeWalkKC, a nonprofit advocacy organization, works to make the region a safe place to walk and bicycle, encouraging cities to build sidewalks, trails and bike lanes, and teaching residents how to walk and bike safely.
    • Kansas City B-cycle, a bike-sharing program, is a partnership between BikeWalkKC and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.
  • Safe Routes to Schools is a national movement to get more kids walking and biking to school. Find out how to organize a walking school bus with neighbor sand what schools, parents, and community members can do to make it safer and easier to walk and bike to school.
  • 1-2-3-4-5 Fit-Tastic! is a program sponsored by Children’s Mercy Hospital to promote health for children, offering five easy steps to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

What can communities or employers do?

The design of our communities and the availability of places to be physically active (parks, community centers, gyms, trails, etc.) makes a difference in the health of our communities, our families and each resident. Studies show that those who live near parks and in walkable areas are twice as healthy as people who live in areas without those options.

Many communities are working to create healthy and safe built environments that promote physical activity, including:
  • Increasing public safety so that residents feel safe and comfortable in public parks and on sidewalks in their neighborhoods.
  • Making use of health impact assessments to measure the impact of development on community health and wellbeing.
  • Implementing community design standards to make streets safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and users of public transit.
  • Providing increased opportunities for walking and bicycling as active transportation.

Complete Streets — Some Kansas City-area communities are changing the way they design and build their transportation systems, and have adopted Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets are designed with all users in mind, offering bike lanes, sidewalks and safe crosswalks, curb cuts to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, and easy access to public transit.