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Here's to You: What is active living?

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Maybe you have run across our website, or blog or a news article. You may even have participated in one of our programs or events because you were curious about what this concept of "Active Living" is all about.

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Active living is a comprehensive approach to incorporating physical activity into people's daily routines with a focus on environmental and policy change efforts.

This is a relatively new and exciting project for the area that continues to gain momentum and support from the community. Active Living Bemidji is nearing its second year of implementation and has created quite a movement, as more individuals are recognizing the connection between health and the built environment.

As part of an effort to encourage more physical activity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota selected eight Minnesota communities to receive its Active Living Minnesota funding. The Bemidji area was one of the selected communities with Headwaters Regional Development Commission as the project lead. The purpose of this funding is to support communities working to implement a comprehensive approach to support active living with a focus on environmental and policy change efforts.

Environmental change is important to ensure that physical activity is a safe, easy and convenient option and therefore a part of people's daily lives. A goal we have for active living is to build a community that is as friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians (of all ages and abilities) as it is to motor vehicles. Policy change is a critical component of active living to achieve sustainable change in the community. Creating a policy environment that supports safe, equitable transportation will make walking and bicycling a more viable transportation option and thus increase opportunities for physical activity in the community.

With the current buzz surrounding health and wellness in the area and amenities such as a walkable downtown, access to natural resources and high-quality parks and trails, Bemidji has become an even more popular place to live, visit and recreate. Creating a community that is truly active living friendly will only add to the charm and allure of Bemidji. Recent trail projects such as the extension of the Paul Bunyan Trail from Guthrie to Walker and the connection of Diamond Point Park to the waterfront showcase Bemidji's values toward its pedestrians' and bicyclists' safety. These connections have provided more opportunities for people to safely and effectively get to key destinations in the city without having to rely on motorized transportation.

Active living successes over the past year are greatly attributed to the leadership and dedication of several committed individuals and organizations within the community. The Active Living Partnership includes representation from the city of Bemidji, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bemidji State University, Department of Natural Resources, local businesses and various other walking and biking advocates. With the help of our devoted partnership, many real things have been accomplished in 2010 such as:

E Share the Road signage (www.sharetheroadmn.org) along key bicycle routes.

E Active Living Bemidji website (activelivingbemidji.com).

E Social media (Active Living blog, Facebook, Twitter)

E Programs and promotions such as Simple Steps Bemidji, Passport for Fitness and Bike Bemidji events.

E Update of the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board's Land Use and Transportation Plans to include active living concepts.

E Lake Bemidji Bicycle and Pedestrian Route Map.

As a result of the work in the Bemidji area, we have developed and fine-tuned our abilities. The lessons learned from successes and challenges in the first year of implementation have been invaluable and have helped us to better frame the issue of active living in our community. We are excited for another great year in 2011 as we work on developing policy in support of active living. If you would like more information about Active Living Bemidji, please visit our website at.activelivingbemidji.com.

Maybe you have run across our website, or blog or a news article. You may even have participated in one of our programs or events because you were curious about what this concept of "Active Living" is all about.

Active living is a comprehensive approach to incorporating physical activity into people's daily routines with a focus on environmental and policy change efforts.

This is a relatively new and exciting project for the area that continues to gain momentum and support from the community. Active Living Bemidji is nearing its second year of implementation and has created quite a movement, as more individuals are recognizing the connection between health and the built environment.

As part of an effort to encourage more physical activity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota selected eight Minnesota communities to receive its Active Living Minnesota funding. The Bemidji area was one of the selected communities with Headwaters Regional Development Commission as the project lead. The purpose of this funding is to support communities working to implement a comprehensive approach to support active living with a focus on environmental and policy change efforts.

Environmental change is important to ensure that physical activity is a safe, easy and convenient option and therefore a part of people's daily lives. A goal we have for active living is to build a community that is as friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians (of all ages and abilities) as it is to motor vehicles. Policy change is a critical component of active living to achieve sustainable change in the community. Creating a policy environment that supports safe, equitable transportation will make walking and bicycling a more viable transportation option and thus increase opportunities for physical activity in the community.

With the current buzz surrounding health and wellness in the area and amenities such as a walkable downtown, access to natural resources and high-quality parks and trails, Bemidji has become an even more popular place to live, visit and recreate. Creating a community that is truly active living friendly will only add to the charm and allure of Bemidji. Recent trail projects such as the extension of the Paul Bunyan Trail from Guthrie to Walker and the connection of Diamond Point Park to the waterfront showcase Bemidji's values toward its pedestrians' and bicyclists' safety. These connections have provided more opportunities for people to safely and effectively get to key destinations in the city without having to rely on motorized transportation.

Active living successes over the past year are greatly attributed to the leadership and dedication of several committed individuals and organizations within the community. The Active Living Partnership includes representation from the city of Bemidji, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bemidji State University, Department of Natural Resources, local businesses and various other walking and biking advocates. With the help of our devoted partnership, many real things have been accomplished in 2010 such as:

- Share the Road signage (www.sharetheroadmn.org) along key bicycle routes.

- Active Living Bemidji website (activelivingbemidji.com).

- Social media (Active Living blog, Facebook, Twitter)

- Programs and promotions such as Simple Steps Bemidji, Passport for Fitness and Bike Bemidji events.

- Update of the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board's Land Use and Transportation Plans to include active living concepts.

- Lake Bemidji Bicycle and Pedestrian Route Map.

As a result of the work in the Bemidji area, we have developed and fine-tuned our abilities. The lessons learned from successes and challenges in the first year of implementation have been invaluable and have helped us to better frame the issue of active living in our community. We are excited for another great year in 2011 as we work on developing policy in support of active living. If you would like more information about Active Living Bemidji, please visit our website at.activelivingbemidji.com.

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