PA WalkWorks Program Adds Partners, 100 Walking Routes

The WalkWorks program, a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, is continuing to grow, adding three new partners and locations bringing the total number of WalkWorks routes to 100.

“Having access to activity-friendly walking routes is essential to keeping Pennsylvanians healthy,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Now more than ever, many of us may feel isolated and stepping outside can reconnect us to something larger than ourselves. I can speak first-hand to the benefit of a designated walking route as I have actively participated in a walking group that utilizes a WalkWorks route around the Capitol Complex. Physical activity can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and premature death. Being active also helps prevent weight gain, reduce depression and improve cognitive function in older adults.”

The three new partners are working in their communities to identify potential routes. WalkWorks will provide technical assistance, promotional materials and signs to the new community partners. Those new partners are:

  • Jermyn Borough;
  • Schuylkill County’s VISION; and
  • UPMC Pinnacle Lebanon Valley Advanced Care Center.

“These communities have demonstrated their commitment to expanding opportunities for physical activity in the built environment,” said Carol Reichbaum, M.S.L., M.S.P.A., director of WalkWorks in Pitt Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice. “Each will engage community members to assist with the identification of a 1- to 2-mile walking route, which will be used by residents of and visitors to the area.”

Funding for WalkWorks is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and the State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, both from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People should avoid traveling long distances for outdoor recreation, and instead should look for WalkWorks routes close to home. While on the routes, please follow these practices to avoid COVID-19 exposure and protect others while enjoying the outdoors:

  • Don’t walk in groups and adhere to social distancing by staying six feet apart
  • Wear a mask when coming in contact with others
  • Take hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and nose
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • If you are sick, stay home

For more information about WalkWorks, visit www.pawalkworks.com or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.