PORT HAWKESBURY: Community leaders put their heads together on Wednesday of last week as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, along with its partners, hosted a Walkable Communities Workshop at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.
“The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a stake in walkability in that, if we get people moving, it decreases the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease,” said Julian Morrison, manager for the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s health promotion team.
“We encourage 150 minutes of physical activity a week,” she continued. “Averaging 10,000 steps a day would be great, but that depends on your age and a number of other factors. We encourage that in 10 minute bursts so you’re able to achieve that without it being too daunting.”
Morrison’s group discussed ways to make Port Hawkesbury and other local communities more walkable, how to improve walkability through planning and infrastructure, and the general state of walkability across the province.
“We talked about some of the local initiatives for walking and we also talked about accessibility and the importance of building communities that are accessible to all,” Morrison said.
“Walking is a great form of physical activity, and it’s generally easy for people to do,” she said. “You can connect with your community and find things you might miss if you’re driving. Grab a friend or family member, chat and walk, see your community, all the while lowering your risk for heart disease and many other chronic conditions.
“All you need is a pair of shoes and some good clothing and off you go.”
Morrison said well over 20 people gathered for the workshop, and she added the discussion was great. While the meeting is over, the manager said Heart and Stroke Walkabout has an on-line presence (walkaboutns.ca) and anyone looking for more information is welcome to log on.
Heart and Stroke Walkabout provides many tools and resources to help make walking a part of people’s everyday routine. The various programs help make walking more accessible, including leader training for workplaces and communities, a pedometer loan program, and resource material for junior high school.
Partnering with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to make the program a reality are the provincial government, Turner Drake and Partners LTD, Licenced Professional Planners Association of Nova Scotia, and the Cities and Environment Unit from the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Dalhousie University.