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Encouraging and providing incentives for walking

December 2015
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A friend based in Singapore posted a photo showing a poster promoting a ‘National Steps Challenge’. The objective apparently and obviously is for Singaporeans and foreign nationals living there to get into walking. The target, according to the poster, is 10,000 steps per day. There are even illustrations in the poster showing estimates of  how many steps you can do at the home, the office or during your regular commute.

Steps challenge[Photo courtesy of Engr. Joy Garcia]

Such programs are exemplary and are aimed at boosting citizen’s health and welfare. Of course, Singapore can do this and many will respond even without rewards because Singapore has excellent transport infrastructure including an extensive public transport system and suitably designed pedestrian facilities.

Can cities in the Philippines come up with a similar challenge? Are there cities with good enough pedestrian facilities that can lead the way and become good practice examples in promoting walking; not just for the reason of commuting but also as a means to achieve better health among its citizens? Authorities can even include infographics on promotions showing the number of calories you can burn for typical walking trips as well as the health benefits one can derive from walking regularly. I think there are many cities that have decent infrastructure and attractive routes to promote walking. Among them are Vigan City, Marikina City, Legazpi City, Iloilo City and Davao City. Hopefully, these cities can take the cue from Singapore in promoting walking and perhaps, too, a national agency like the Department of Health can pitch in to promote this worthwhile cause for healthier lifestyles.


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