Simple Healthy Neighborhood Ideas
A walk through your neighborhood can tell you a lot - who likes to walk, bike, run, or garden, who's got dogs or kids in strollers. Finding active things in common helps to bring neighbors together and improves everyone's health. If you want to be active in your neighborhood, but organizing an event like Neighborhoods Alive! isn’t feasible, here are some ways to be active in your neighborhood with a few neighbors!
- Jump on the Bike Trail near you. If you don’t have a bike, try BikeLNK – Lincoln’s bike share program. If you’d like to own a bike but can’t afford one, check out the Lincoln Bike Kitchen.
- Organize a neighbor-walk group. Grab a couple neighbors and set up a time to walk the neighborhood together.
- Stroller moms and dads. Connect to other parents in the neighborhood with toddlers on neighborhood walks.
- Dog walks. Connect to other pet parents in the neighborhood on neighborhood walks.
- Play Neighborhood Scavenger Bingo. Download bingo cards for kids, teens, and adults and a variety of neighborhoods from our Neighborhood Scavenger Bingo web page.
- Download maps to find low and no-cost physical activity opportunities in a variety of neighborhoods from our Active Neighborhood Maps web page.
If you want an active way to improve the beauty and outdoor enjoyment of your neighborhood here are some ideas these that could also be part a Neighborhoods Alive! event as well:
- Plant/garden exchange, or community garden. Create a garden share. If you notice others with gardens as you walk your neighborhood, share your love of gardening by offering to trade garden produce or plants, or create a shared garden space. Community Crops can help you create a community garden. If you have a community garden, you can bring neighbors together to paint the fence.
- Tree planting. Trees are a great way to improve neighborhood appearance and health. The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum can provide up to 10 free trees for approved public projects and events. Projects can be quite variable, but do need to be on public property and provide clear public benefit. Learn more.
- Invasive plant species removal in your park. Learn about invasive species from UN/L. Neighbors can contact Lincoln Parks and Recreation about invasive plant species in their neighborhood park and volunteer to help remove them.
- Fall landscaping clean-up. Gather a few neighbors and help older neighbors with fall yardwork. The Aging Partners Home Handyman Program also provides a variety of home upkeep and repair services for seniors on a sliding scale.
- Neighborhood spruce-up. This Neighborhood cleanup toolkit provides useful ideas on how to organize a neighborhood clean up. Grant are sometimes available for neighborhood cleanup projects. Find information and an online application for Lincoln, NE here.
- Bike or walking trail clean up. Adopt-a-trail application.
- Graffiti removal. The city offers free graffiti removal. Replace graffiti with a neighborhood mural.
Healthy Neighborhoods Start
With Healthy Families
Healthy neighborhoods and communities start with healthy families. Family meals. Family play. Family connections. The healthy habits that are formed in the home with your family are taken to school, work, out into your neighborhood, and into the community. Watch this short video and read below for a few simple, easy tips for your family.
Cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages. More than 50% of the extra calories that we consume that are causing the obesity epidemic come from the things we drink. Switch out one soda or other sugar-sweetened drink a day to water, it will benefit your health and save you money.
Go for a walk. On average, Americans only get about half of the recommended amount of physical activity. Going for a walk is free, it benefits your neighborhood, and there are dozens of proven health benefits. Better yet, walk as a family to improve family time and make it more enjoyable.
Spend less time in front of the screen. We all feel like there is less and less free time available to us, yet studies show the average American spends hours in front of a screen each day. Cutting this by even 30 minutes and using it for some activity will make huge changes in your health over time.
Eat more fruits and vegetables with a goal of 5 or more servings a day. Eating more fruits and vegetables help from several angles – they are high in nutrition but low in calories, they are high in fiber and water content, and the volume helps you feel full earlier than the same calorie amount of foods high in sugar or fat.
f processed foods.
Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations for adults and children. Keep yourself and your family healthier but ensuring you are current on all recommended vaccines.