Vitoria-Gasteiz walks for health

CIVITAS Initiative

The main objective of the programme, launched by the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council on 10 May, is to encourage citizens to walk, doing a regular physical exercise as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. This also encompasses our aim to foster long-term social bonds among the participants, promote the use and enjoyment of green spaces within easy reach of the city, and offer practical advice and follow-up on the walkers' progress.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, a pedestrian scale compact city, has a long track record in developing and implementing policies for achieving a sustainable city that offers a high quality of life for its citizens. For many years the city has had a strong commitment towards environmentally-friendly (and healthy) mobility through ongoing investment in pedestrian areas and cycle lanes.In Vitoria-Gasteiz (27.680 ha), over 80% of the city’s inhabitants are employed within the municipal boundaries and walking is the most popular means of travel to work. There is ongoing investment in the provision and maintenance of sidewalks, boulevards and cycle zones. Over 25% of the public space is reserved for pedestrian access only and there are 33 km of pedestrian pathways inside the urban area and 91 km across the Green Belt. Vitoria-Gasteiz walks for health intends to help citizens get to know their city better, to inform them about new routes across the city and about open spaces which provide easy access to moderate physical activity. The schedule starts in Spring (10 May - 25 June), and will continue in Autumn (14 September - 22 October). Guided walks will take place every day from Monday to Friday, either in the morning or in the afternoon, depending on the participants' physical condition. The length and intensity of the walk also depends on how fit participants are, and will vary from 60 to 90 minutes. Each group will be made up of a maximum of 15 people, although no minimum number of walkers is required. Likewise, walks are not subject to weather conditions. Citizens may enroll in any civic centre and the cost of each walk is 0.20 cents per person. A leaflet includes practical advice regarding suitable footwear and clothing, as well as useful tips such as not walking after having a heavy meal.

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