The Public Square

Cynthia L Hoyle on walkable communities


Are you looking for a way to get healthy, lose weight and generally have more energy? Why not start walking! It's easy, you need no special equipment, and just thirty minutes a day can dramatically improve and extend your life. Plus, walking is often the gateway to a more active lifestyle. We have all heard that we should be getting about 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity everyday. The statistics show that almost two-thirds of the adult population in the US is overweight and fewer than 25% meet the Surgeon General's recommendation for physical activity. But how do we fit more activity into our busy schedules? How often do you walk to the store as opposed to using your car? Do you know your neighbors well or do you simply wave to them as you pull your car out of your driveway? Do you feel reluctant to walk in your neighborhood due to excessive traffic, lack of sidewalks, or dangerous crosswalks?

If you find that you spend a lot more time in your car during the day rather than walking that may not entirely be your fault. For the past century, we've turned our neighborhoods and cities from a pedestrian-based culture to a car-based culture. This rise in daily convenience has led to a more sedentary lifestyle for many Americans. Now the time has come to weave activity back into our lives and work to make our communities more pedestrian-friendly.

On April 8th and 9th Champaign-Urbana will be hosting a preeminent expert on walking and active living, Mark Fenton. Mark Fenton is an entertaining, persuasive, and knowledgeable walking advocate; one the nation's foremost experts on the activity; the former editor-at-large of WALKING Magazine; host of the March 2000 PBS pledge special, Walk to a Better Life; and now host of the new PBS series, America's Walking.

Mark is a vocal pedestrian advocate and recognized authority on public health issues and the need for community, environmental, and public-policy initiatives to encourage more walking and bicycling. He is the health representative to the Partnership for a Walkable America and he's also author of the new book, The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness.

Mark will share with us how people have transformed their lives by simply walking and how we can transform our community into a healthier community. If you would like to learn how to begin living a more active lifestyle and what you can do to help our community become more walkable join us for two free events. April 8th: A Walkable Community/Safe Routes Workshop 2:30 to 5:00 PM Illini Union, University of Illinois Preregistration required - Contact: Rose Hudson at 217-398-4206 or Cynthia Hoyle 217-278-9059

Community Presentation, Provena Covenant Hospital Auditorium 7-8 PM

April 9th: Toward a More Walkable and Bicycle-Friendly Community 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, WILL AM Focus 580

Mark's visit is being sponsored by: C-U Safe Routes to School Project, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, City of Urbana, University of Illinois Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, and Provena Covenant Medical Center

For more information contact: Rose Hudson 217-398-4206 or Cynthia Hoyle 217-278-9059 or