Posts Tagged ‘winter walking’
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Transit for Livable Communities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal.
Walkable neighborhoods are all the rage these days. The preference is growing for places where it’s possible to get to at least some of the places you need or want to go without having to get in the car (or find parking). The housing market is booming in this direction—in downtown Minneapolis, but also along the Midtown Greenway, along light rail lines, and in other places, too.
The boom may have to do with there being places to walk–grocery stores, places to socialize (restaurants, bars, galleries), and cool shops. Walkability has been true in Uptown for a long while, where it’s possible to get to the gym, the grocery store or your choice of restaurant or shopping. The same is true in Northeast. Downtown Minneapolis residents, long starved for grocery stores, now have a new Lunds on Hennepin to go with the Lunds in Northeast. The Whole Foods is under construction on Washington. And small shops like DeLish continue to build an audience, with cooking classes to go with their local food selections. New shops and restaurants—not only new breweries—are opening as well.
Turns out that this proximity of where you live and where you like to go has economic upsides. In Oregon, researchers asked people coming out of convenience stores, restaurants and bars, and supermarkets how they got there and correlated it with how much they spent. It turns out that people walking or arriving on bicycle spent more over the course of a month than people driving—except at supermarkets.
People on foot or on a bike, or arriving via transit spent less per visit but made more frequent trips. They became “regular customers,” the researchers found, with implications for how you build customer loyalty in neighborhood-based businesses. There also is an idea out there called “the green dividend” which says that if you’re using your bike or walking more often, your costs are less, so you have more money to spend out and about.
So, with the news that it’s good for business to walk, it’s also useful to note that we’re a great city for walking in winter. Bike Walk Twin Cities data shows that we’re a hardy bunch, who tend to keep walking to get places in winter. Depending on location, there are 50-75% as many people out walking in the depths of winter as in warmer months.
Remembering that you can cover pretty good distance in a 15-30 minute stroll, here are some options for good walks this winter. Don’t forget a shopping bag!
*Downtown to Nordeast and back over the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. The lights on the river in winter are beautiful. Your reward for heading in either direction is any of several new places to stop on either side of the bridge. The area around Hennepin and University has seen several new storefronts open along with some perennial classics like Nye’s and Kramarcuk’s. Plan a side trip to the Soap Factory for their latest show or up to 13th Avenue in Northeast for the shops and galleries and eateries there. On the downtown side, head for Nicollet Mall or into the North Loop for galleries, eateries, and activities.
*Stroll to the Walker. Target Free Thursday nights are your chance to check out the latest in the always vibrant mix of art forms.
*Take the #18 bus from downtown Minneapolis to the corner of Nicollet and 26th. Stop in at The Bad Waitress, the Icehouse, or any of several restaurants with food from around the world. Stroll over to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Children’s Theater, and MCAD just a few blocks away.
Walking in winter is a great way to avoid the winter blahs. Hands in mittens and hat on head, winter is a joy, especially with so many great places to go.
Tags: biking and business, Downtown Minneapolis, Northeast Minneapolis walking, Uptown Minneapolis, walkability, walkable neighborhoods, walking and business, winter walking
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Thursday, January 31st, 2013
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities/Transit for Livable Communities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal.
It’s tempting in winter to hibernate. Find a cozy spot inside to read a book. Catch up on movies you missed from last year. Tackle some indoor project, whether it’s a puzzle or learning to knit or draw or putting together model airplanes from other eras of flight.
But, there are lots of good reasons to push yourself—and any kids in your household—to get outside, even if only briefly. Not surprisingly, with the rise of computers and the internet, people are spending less time outside. Kids spend about 1/3 to 1/2 less time outside or playing sports than kids in the early 1980s. (Raise your hand if you grew up in the 1980s—were you outside much in winter?)
We also know activity is good, whatever the age. A few minutes outside in winter—fresh air, sunlight, and exercise—can do a lot to stir the spirit and the body in good ways. Unstructured play and free time “protects children’s emotional development,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. And kids benefit from activity in several ways (according to the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control, and California Department of Education): weight and blood pressure control; bone, muscle, and joint health; reduction in the risk of diabetes; improved psychological welfare; and better academic performance.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board throws out some strong lures for getting outside—including ice fishing! Walleye can be caught on lakes Harriet, Nokomis, Calhoun, Cedar and Lake of the Isles. If ice-skating, pond hockey, hockey, or broom ball are your thing, the daily status of each of the MPRB’s 47 ice rinks at 22 parks can be viewed online throughout the season at www.minneapolisparks.org/rinks.
Theodore Wirth’s 700-acres of urban forest offer cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing, skijoring, cycling, and walking/running trails. Wirth Park can also set you up with gear, lessons, and a place to warm up with some hot food and drink.
For truly unstructured time and a chance to explore the world around you, a walk with your kids can be the easiest way to get outside. Here are some tips for making it a good walk.
Dress warmly. Layers are best. Make sure the layer closest to the skin wicks away moisture. Avoid cotton clothing or socks, as they can soak up perspiration and offer little warmth. Wear a waterproof coat and boots. Body heat is lost through the head, so wear a hood or hat that covers the ears. Gloves or mittens with long cuffs help keep snow out. If it’s getting toward dark, wear bright, reflective clothing, and attach blinking lights to your clothes.
Make it fun. In general, keep walks short, especially for younger kids, and/or build in warm breaks. And, everyone likes a warm reward at the end of the walk.
- If you’re out with little kids, remember: they have shorter legs than you. Go slowly and let them explore the world around them. Pretend you’re on an expedition. Study clouds or watch squirrels.
- If you’re out with kids of different ages, pick a safe space to try letting the older child lead the younger, while the younger closes his or her eyes. This can be a great way for the older kid to increase awareness and attention to others and for the younger to identify everything that he or she hears or smells. (Make sure to supervise both children yourself.)
- Remember that older kids like a destination or a goal—go see the frozen waterfall at Minnehaha Park, for instance.
Be aware. A walk is a good time to teach younger kids how to navigate safely and to remind older kids what they learned when they were little. Always walk on sidewalks; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic. Cross only at corners or in crosswalks. Look both ways, and signal your intention to cross. Always watch for traffic to ensure you are seen. A good walk is also a chance to note the safety features around you, such as curb bump outs that make crossing distances shorter, count-down timers at crosswalks to let you know how much time you have to cross, or medians in the middle of the roadway that give people walking a safe place to wait. What features in your neighborhood make it safer for walking?
Event note: If you like a good walk, don’t miss the fifth annual We Love Our President’s Walk in Northeast Minneapolis, Saturday, February 16. Walkers, bikers, even pets gather at 10:00 a.m. at Edison High School (between Washington and Monroe). The Northeast Urban 4-H Club will lead walkers up Central; along the way they will stop at designated points to share trivia about the presidents. After a stop for hoc chocolate at the Eastside Food Coop walkers will head East on 29th for a hot lunch and program featuring a trivia contest, drawing, prizes and a brief presentation.
Tags: City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, Minneapolis walking, Northeast Minneapolis walking, Theodore Wirth Park, walking, walking with kids, We Love Our President’s Walk, winter walking
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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
From your first steps as a child, you’ve known that walking is good for you. Not only does walking offer a host of health benefits, it also can provide several additional advantages – from saving you cash and enhancing your relationships to boosting your brain power and mood.
We’ve long known that walking boosts health. New research shows a significant risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes among those who regularly walk briskly. In other studies, walking has been shown to reduce the pain of fibromyalgia, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you better manage your weight.
An 18-year study of 46,000 men and 15,000 women showed a 40% lower risk of developing a stroke among those who regularly walked. And women who walk regularly after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a 45% greater chance of survival than those who are inactive, according to a prominent oncology journal.
Walking can help you save on gym costs. On average, gym memberships run $40-$60 per person per month. The cost of a single month of gym membership could easily pay for a new pair of sturdy, comfortable walking shoes.
Walking can also help cut your medication costs, not to mention the potential side effects of many medicines. Data from the National Walkers’ Health Study found that those who took the longest weekly walks were more likely to use less medication.
Walking with someone for a half-hour – a spouse, friend, child or other family member – naturally leads to conversation. Those who regularly walk with others report higher levels of satisfaction with their personal relationships. And if you’re a dog owner, that’s a great reason to take a walk. You’ll find your role as “top dog” in your home solidified if you regularly take your four-legged friend for regular strolls.
Need a mental boost? Go for a walk! A recent study of 278 midlife African-American women showed that those who regularly walked were significantly less depressed than those who did not. Similarly, an Italian study tracked 749 older adults who had been identified as experiencing memory problems, and found that those who expended the most energy walking had a 27% lower risk of developing dementia than their less energetic counterparts.
Considering our mild winter so far in the Twin Cities – one of the 10 warmest winters on record – February is shaping up to be a great month to walk. The Winter Walkoff 2012 campaign, through the end of February, specifically urges Twin Cities residents to get outside and walk at least once a day. Those who commit to the campaign are encouraged to post about it on Twitter, at #winterwalkoff.
We’re fortunate that the Twin Cities metro area is primarily pedestrian-friendly. Of the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas, we are among the nation’s safest spots for pedestrians, according to Transportation for America. And indeed, three out of four Twin Cities residents keep walking year-round, according to Bike Walk Twin Cities.
Yet even those who regularly walk do not typically walk enough to fully enjoy its ample benefits. The daily walking goal cited by most health experts is 10,000 steps – about 5 miles of walking, or approximately the equivalent of exercising vigorously for 30 minutes.
Tags: #winterwalkoff, Bike Walk Move, Bike Walk Twin Cities, Joan Pasiuk, Minneapolis walking, walking for health, winter walk off, winter walking, winter walkoff
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The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when