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Active Transportation Cited for Fitness, Co-Benefits

by Anne Bell | May 29, 2013

For Immediate Release
May 29, 2013

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION CITED FOR FITNESS, CO-BENEFITS
ACSM experts tout cost savings, sustainability, community gains

INDIANAPOLIS – Citing abundant research showing that physically active lifestyles can improve individual health, experts gathering in Indianapolis today called for more investigation of co-benefits such as economic gains and reduced environmental impact. Scientists and bicycling advocates prepared to discuss the ActivEarth initiative today at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine and the fourth World Congress on Exercise is Medicine®.

“The link between physical activity and individual health is well documented,” said Janet Walberg Rankin, Ph.D., FACSM, whose term as ACSM president closes with this week’s Annual Meeting. “What we’re focusing on now – from both research and policy perspectives – is physical activity as a public health strategy. We’re seeing, in communities as different as New York City and Indianapolis, documentation of strategies that bring multiple co-benefits.”

Rankin heads the ActivEarth initiative, which promotes practices such as active transportation –bicycling, walking or using transit to get to destinations. Later today, ActivEarth proponents will join other meeting participants and guests on a walking and biking tour of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. ACSM will present a donation to the trail foundation as a gift to the College’s hometown and in support active lifestyles for the community.

The Indianapolis-based Health by Design coalition serves as an example of how policy decisions supporting active lifestyles can invigorate a community. “We’re so proud of the efforts under way to make Indianapolis more walkable and bikeable,” said Kim Irwin, who leads Health by Design. “We’ve adopted a Complete Streets policy, we’re working on numerous Safe Routes to School initiatives, and we’re well on our way to making expanded regional mass transit a reality. All of this makes it easier for people to get physical activity as part of their daily routine.”

Robert Oppliger, Ph.D., FACSM, will chair today’s ActivEarth session. An avid bicyclist, he noted the success of the League of American Bicyclists in developing a nationwide initiative to promote active lifestyles through their program “Bike-Friendly Communities, Businesses and Universities.” Almost 250 communities, including Indianapolis, have become bike friendly through this program. In addition to the opportunity for more physical activity, Oppliger said that significant co-benefits of the Cultural Trail include enhanced property values, increased commerce and more vibrant neighborhoods.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science
organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. The 60th ACSM Annual Meeting brings more than 6,000 physicians, scientists, educators, students and others to the Indiana Convention Center
in Indianapolis May 28-June 1. At the same time, the third World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) will convene some of the world’s leading physical activity and health experts to build on the global charter launched in 2010. EIM sessions are held at The Indianapolis Westin.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine. Research highlighted in this news release has been presented at a professional meeting but has not been peer-reviewed.

The American College of Sports Medicine 60th Annual Meeting is going on now at the Indiana
Convention Center.

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