Staying Active in a Rural Community

In South Dakota, we are surrounded by small towns with low populations. Memberships to fitness facilities, gyms, recreation centers, or community physical activity opportunities may be slim, if available at all. With constant messaging about the benefits and importance of being physically active, one may wonder how they can keep active with limited access to facilities. The beauty of this perceived dilemma is that physical activity can be performed anywhere with little to no equipment.

Here are a few ideas to stay active year-round, whether or not you have physical activity facilities or amenities available in your community.

Active transportation is defined as: approaches that encourage individuals to actively travel from one destination to the next, such as walking or biking, decreasing the use for motorized transportation. In many small towns, actively transporting to the grocery store, school, post office, or a neighbor’s house can be done with ease.

Workout at Home
Although not all individuals enjoy working up a sweat in their living room, this is an option that is available to anyone who has an open space in their home. If you don’t have an exercise video or routine to follow, perform some exercises like squats, push-ups, stretching and flexibility training, or abdominal exercises. Videos, YouTube, Social Media Exercise videos, online workout routines and social media platforms are a great way to access a variety of free workout routines to do anywhere. Yoga, kickboxing, strength training, balance practice, stretching, and cardio workouts can all be accessed by doing a simple online search. If you are new to exercise, be sure to start slow and look for beginner focused workouts.

Walk, Walk, Walk!
The most preferred form of physical activity is walking. Walking can be performed anywhere, indoors or outdoors, with no equipment other than a good pair of tennis shoes.

Community Groups
If you have a passion for walking, biking, yoga or another fitness trend, consider forming a community group or community class around that interest. Talk with local facilities (i.e. community center, school, churches) and see if they are willing to share use of an open space for your community group to meet once or twice a week. If you are a walking or biking group, you can meet outside and go for a walk or ride together as a group.

Advocate
If your community lacks access to physical activity opportunities, advocate for development, policies or access to such amenities.

See more at iGrow.org