Transit a step in the right direction for creating healthy communities

tentoewalkgroup1As we await the first days of Spring, people are starting to think about outdoor activities. While many may not even link using transit and their health as a part of their outdoor activities, there is a signficant connnection to creating healthy lifestyles and livable communities.   With obesity rates on the rise (Missouri’s obesity level exceed 30 percent) and healthcare costs on the rise, now is the time to examine how our transportation choices affect our health and the health of our communities.  

Here are just a few examples why transit is an investment for our health and why St. Louisans should consider giving transit a try:

With transit, you can achieve the recommended levels of daily exercise.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 22 minutes of daily physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke and diabetes.  By walking or biking to the Bus Stop or MetroLink Station at one or both ends of your trip, it’s easy to meet or exceed this goal. 

Transit helps make our air cleaner.  With more and more St. Louisans jumping on board transit, there is less air pollution especially as we head into the warmer weather months. This in turn reduces the cases of asthma, lung disease and lung cancer. 

Transit reduces isolation.  Transit is a great way to prevent our seniors and people with disabilities from becoming isolated from their communities. TRansit provides access to jobs, medical services and personal errands like grocery stores.  With one of the largest populations of seniors in the country in the Affton/Shrewsbury in the St. Louis area, this is a significant benefit for the region.

 Transit promotes safer streets.  With more and more pedestrians on the streets around bus stops and MetroLink stations, there is greater demand for better bicyle and pedestrian amenities – wider sidewalks, safe crossings and bike lanes and connections.  This helps reduce the speeds of vehicular traffic in the area.  As our communities become more transit -oriented, these benefits will increase significantly. 

Good transit supports a healthy resident and a healthy community. Consider stepping out this Spring on the Ten Toe Express and giving transit a try. Registration events are underway at www.tentoes.cmt-stl.org with a kick-off walk on April 10 from the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station.  The Ten Toe Express is a walking program that links walking with using MetroLink and MetroBus to explore St. Louis.  Walk participants receive a walk kit, a pedometer, walking maps and much more. In addition, weekly walking groups led by trained walk leaders head out to exciting destinations in St. Louis.  Consider using your own ten toes and Metro to see how healthy you can be this Spring.