In many places in the world today, lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of health problems. Some of these include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and osteoporotic falls resulting in fractures.
- Walking and cycling burns calories and can help with weight loss.
- Exercise can help prevent heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels and specifically increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol that keeps artery walls clear.
- Regular exercise can help to decrease high blood pressure by an average of 10 points.
- Exercise can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes and help to control Type I Diabetes. A combination of regular exercise, weight loss and change of diet can actually reverse the course of Type 2 Diabetes.
- Weight bearing exercise such as hiking and jogging can help to prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density and slow calcium loss.
- Longevity across genders and age groups is improved by physical activity.
Even though we know exercise has enormous health benefits, many people have fewer opportunities to get out and exercise in their communities. There is a lack of places to cycle and walk – particularly in the towns that don’t have the luxury of a beach or walking tracks nearby. A rail trail winding it’s way through beautiful countryside and many towns will encourage people to get out and enjoy their environment in a healthy way.
Trails can create healthy transportation opportunities by providing people of all ages with attractive, safe, accessible places to bike, walk, jog or skate. They make it easier for people to build activity into their daily routine – such as riding to school or work and walking to the shops. Pregnant women can walk safely without the pollution of motor vehicles and can later walk their babies in strollers along with their friends – reducing the risk of post-natal depression.
Our Northern Rivers Rail Trail has the potential to create an overall healthier community!