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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007 July; 61(7): 604.
PMCID: PMC2465761

Changing public spaces for getting physical activity

The importance of physical activity as a means of health promotion has been the subject of recent guidance.1 Access to recreational facilities has been discussed in health inequalities research2 and policy.3

A welcome outcome is to see this filter through to practice, particularly to a range of opportunities for physical activity that are inclusive of all age groups (fig 11).). While seeking consent for the photographs from these citizens, one cyclist, simultaneously cycling and smoking, elected not to be photographed.

figure ch55210.f1
Figure 1 Changing public spaces

Modifying public recreational spaces embeds greater choice and opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy physical activity. People are spared the financial burden of purchasing exercise equipment and safety accessories. Installation of simple equipment becomes an invitation to engage in exercising within the scope of people's ability, as well as predisposing people to the additional benefits that socialisation brings.


1. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Four commonly used methods to increase physical activity: brief interventions in primary care, exercise referral schemes, pedometers, and community‐based exercise programmes for walking and cycling, Public Health Intervention Guidance No. 2, March 2006. = 299528 (accessed 16 Mar 2007)
2. Mallinson S, Popay J, Elliot E. et al Using historical material in research on the relationship between health and place: a pilot study. Sociology 2003. 37771–780.780
3. Zafra E, Peiro R, Ramon N. et al Analysis of the formulation of policies on aging in plans for social and health care and care of the elderly in autonomous communities in Spain. Gac Sanit 2006. 20295–302.302 [PubMed]

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