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Active living is a way of life where being physically active is part of day-to-day activities. It means walking or biking to work, school, or the store, taking the stairs, playing in a park, or going to a recreation facility to exercise. Daily physical activity is important for people of all ages, and can help prevent obesity and improve health.

Public Health works with communities to make improvement to encourage walking and biking and other forms of physical activity through:

  • Promoting community design and development that supports physical activity; and
  • Facilitating access to safe, accessible, and affordable places for physical activity.

Walking and Biking to School

The number of children walking and bicycling to school has decreased dramatically in the past decades. According to CDC, only 13% of children walk to school today compared to 66% in 1970. Traffic dangers, lack of sidewalks, and urban sprawl have contributed to the decrease. The decrease in walking and biking to school coincides with a nationwide increase in childhood obesity. Walking and bicycling to and from school increases opportunities for daily physical activity.

Walking and Biking in Local Neighborhoods and Communities

Public Health Madison & Dane County and Safe Communities have collaborated with local neighborhoods and communities to encourage walking and biking.

Maps or map brochures have been created with walking and biking routes and the local points of interest in the neighborhood or community.

Why Walk or Bike to School?

  • It's Fun!
    Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.
  • Healthier Habits
    The trip to school is a chance for children (and adults!) to get the physical activity they need, which improves both physical and mental health.
  • Cleaner Environment
    Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions.
  • Promoting Safety
    Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety. Encouraging walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community.
  • Community Benefits
    Reducing traffic congestion, boosting a sense of community, and improving neighborhood connections benefit the community