Strategies and Tools
Examine planning and zoning efforts, such as complete streets and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies, to ensure that adults with arthritis can walk safely to community centers, workplaces, shopping areas, places of worship, schools, parks, public transportation, and other venues.
Designing neighborhoods and communities with mid-life and older adults in mind will reap positive benefits for all residents, young and old. Being aware of a few relatively simple strategies for providing safe sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, rest stops, benches, walking loops and signage can support physical activity and prevent injuries and falls. State and local planning and transportation boards, authorities, and elected officials should be encouraged to consult with arthritis, aging, and physical activity experts when creating built environments to ensure safety and accessibility for all adults. In addition, the importance of establishing and maintaining green spaces should be reinforced to ensure that people of all ages and abilities have local places to connect and be active.
Walksteps.org, an interactive online resource aimed at putting innovative pro-walking tactics in the hands of citizens, planners, and engineers. It can help you create your own pro-walking plan, collect your favorite tactic from a range of disciplines, and select the category that interests you and start learning and compiling tactics
Use walkability checklists to design and maintain safe and accessible community options for physical activity.
A walking audit (also referred to as a walking assessment) can help examine the walking conditions along specified streets, trails, and paths. They are designed to assess availability, safety, and attractiveness of features that promote walking in a community. They help you map out walkable street segments within neighborhoods, and identify the most common safety hazards and inconveniences that can keep people from walking. Such tools are often the starting point for advocacy efforts; communities start to learn what the barriers are and also have evidence to present to policy makers. They can also help determine where to host evidence-based physical activity programs (such as Walk with Ease) and identify opportunities for environmental change through community engagement.
Irvine Minnesota Inventory
Install, upgrade, and maintain sidewalks and benches in new and existing neighborhoods to create safe functional pathways and resting areas in and around parks, recreation centers, and other public venues.
Before venturing into the community to engage in walking or other physical activity, adults with arthritis need to know that there are frequent, safe, and comfortable place for them to rest. Due to pain and/or limitations in endurance and stamina, people with arthritis may need to take frequent breaks from walking to protect their health. Sidewalks with smooth pavement prevent tripping and falling and are also conducive to people who may use assistive devices. Developing a sidewalk inventory can identify where new sidewalks are needed and where older ones need repair. Walking loops can be helpful as well. Furthermore, stores can post signage encouraging older adults to stop by for a rest or bathroom break. These efforts can be reciprocal as older adults may then purchase items along the way.