Resources and Library:

Trail Tracks Opinion Forum

Hosted by AmericanTrails.org

Trails are one important pathway to fully connect the dots between healthy people and healthy environments.

arrow From the Fall 2009 issue of American Trails Magazine

 

Safe trails: reaching across the generations



FOR THOSE WHO SEE REALITY AS A SYSTEM of juxtaposed social, political, and economic forces, Lady Opportunity often shouts: “Take advantage of this!”

The current market meltdown has Baby Boomers delaying retirement and older adults wondering whether Medicare, under the microscope of a vacillating Congress, will remain viable enough to accommodate the vicissitudes of chronic diseases and impaired activities of everyday living. These are the negative sides of the system.

photo of kids on trail

Many older Americans, like Jake Isaacson, have discovered a new

“career” volunteering their labor and expertise for trail projects;

photo by Matt Martinez, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

retirement and older adults wondering whether Medicare, under the microscope of a vacillating Congress, will remain viable enough to accommodate the vicissitudes of chronic diseases and impaired activities of everyday living. These are the negative sides of the system.

Nevertheless, clouds retain their silver linings!

The U.S. Park Service reports a significant increase in campsite reservations, and sport-outfitter REI is enjoying boon sales of luxury camping equipment. Expensive? Yes, but much less costly than a couple of weeks in $200-a-night hotels hundreds of miles from home.

Couple this with two new partnerships. One is between the International Council of Active Aging and the American Academy of Family Practice to promote exercise. The other is the partnership between the American College of Sports Medicine and each the American Medical Association and American Heart Association stating, “Exercise is Medicine.”

Promoters of American Trails have here the ingredients for exciting marketing on behalf of the older adult community— first to the local medical society, which reaches out to all physicians— and then to clinics and hospital outpatient departments in the same area as trails. (See particularly the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s excellent Environmental Strategies to Promote Physical Activity, which is loaded with references to trails.)

The network of resources and groups involved in this trend toward healthier aging is extensive. Most of these organizations bend over backwards to promote healthful activity to their members. Many studies show that older adults will get their exercise if trail safety and security are taken into account. Every state has a Commission on Aging to which state trail developers can promote their programs.

At local levels, trail clubs can market to Area Agencies on Aging, senior citizens centers, and physicians. And we know when an older person’s doctor makes a recommendation it’s more likely to be followed. (Each the 2007 and 2008 winners of the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Awards describe collaborations among diverse community and environmental planners.)

In days of uncertainty, our trails offer a back-to-nature option to older adults who seek safe and secure relief from negative newscasts and threatened investment portfolios.

Dr. Oakes is a security consultant with Blue Ember Technologies, LLC, an American Trails Patron Member. For 35 years before joining BET he had a national practice as a gerontologist and behavioral scientist in the health care industry.

Print Friendly
Print Friendly and PDF

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter

Stay up to date on legislative issues for trails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

business directory

 

trail database

Need trail skills and education? Do you provide training? Join the National Trails Training Partnership!

The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training

arrowEnjoy and share the new online, digital version of the American Trails Magazine!

arrowHelp us provide you more useful resources to keep you on the cutting-edge -- please join today!

arrowWe are advocating for your interests! Visit the Supporting Trails page to view the latest in legislative news, current issues, and opportunities, and to learn how to access funding.

arrow Sign up for American Trails Action Alerts and Trail Tracks e-Newsletters.

 

PDF  Some of our documents are in PDF format and require free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.
  Download Acrobat Reader

section 508 logo American Trails and NTTP support accessibility with Section 508: read more.