For a community to truly thrive, the people in it should have access to healthy lifestyles. This involves many big improvements, including safety and security, better employment for all, better educational opportunities, and even easier healthcare processes.
Healthy communities are those in which everyone has access to opportunities for a good quality of life regardless of their financial status, social standing, race, and others. These are lofty goals that any community should pursue, but significant changes start with small efforts.
The hard work toward becoming a healthy community encompasses many little changes in various industries, but you can begin by first improving your community’s options for diet and fitness. Active, physically healthy lifestyles enable households to accomplish more.
How to Encourage Healthy Living in Your Community
When families don’t need to worry about having nutritious, filling food on their plates every day, it opens up a world of opportunities to have more fulfilled lives. Here are some ways you can support your neighborhood in achieving better health and productivity.
1. Make healthy food choices available
Often, households don’t pursue healthier lifestyles simply because healthy and affordable choices are not easy to come by, or they don’t know that they are available. A small way you can help is to start a campaign to increase awareness of the existing healthy choices in your community. Highlight restaurants and options in grocery stores that address the need for healthier diets.
You can even take it upon yourself to open a business that promotes health and wellness. Since there aren’t a lot in your community yet, help diversify healthy choices by opening the neighborhood’s first acai berry bowl franchise or other healthy concepts that might not have been represented yet. When there are more options, people will have an easier time transitioning to better diet plans.
2. Promote local businesses
Local businesses make your community shine. These small businesses started by your local farmers, restaurateurs, artisans, and the like offer a more personal service, allowing you to get to know the people who run them and how they source their ingredients and materials. Local farmers, in particular, can provide the freshest in-season produce for affordable prices while reassuring you that their products are free of harmful chemicals.
Since local entrepreneurs give your community its unique identity, it preserves your local culture and makes it a more interesting place for tourists to visit. When your local businesses benefit, your whole community does, too.
3. Encourage people to volunteer
Another good way to promote healthier lifestyles is to volunteer in organizations working toward achieving these in your community. It is not always about increasing access to healthy meals, though that is an important aspect. Other causes, such as providing food to low-income families, making streets more walkable, and even cleaning up the city, contribute to making your community a healthier place.
When you make roads and streets friendlier for pedestrians and bikers, it promotes alternative modes of transportation and better physical fitness. Cleaner streets and local businesses work hand in hand. Visiting stores near your home becomes easier and more environmentally friendly when people can walk or bike to places comfortably.
Not to mention, the act of volunteering presents many benefits for a person’s physical and mental health! It helps build teamwork and social skills, letting an individual gain confidence in themselves as they interact with different people. Volunteering among older adults can also have positive effects on chronic conditions.
4. Pay attention to fitness
Fitness does play a huge role in living a healthier lifestyle. It isn’t all about eating better! It is time to assess if your community has enough facilities in which people can exercise.
To improve access to fitness in your community, we have previously mentioned making your streets more walkable and bike-friendly. Have clearly marked sidewalks, pedestrian lanes, and set up bike lanes.
Look at your parks, too. Do they promote exercise? Having facilities such as activity centers, covered courts, and outdoor fitness equipment make it easier for people of all ages to work out with little to no cost.
5. Model a healthy lifestyle
You should lead by example when you want to kick-start a movement toward healthy living in your community. Show people that the transition toward better and more mindful food and fitness practices is achievable, especially in your own neighborhood.
Apply the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” into your life. Other people will have an easier time pursuing good changes when they have a credible example of it to refer to.