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People who exercise outdoors [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people who exercise outdoors.

You do not need to be a member of a gym to exercise. City streets, parks and green belt areas offer plenty of space to walk, run, practise yoga or do other bodyweight exercises. We cannot influence the weather, but there are other ways in which the public space can be made more inviting for people who want to exercise outdoors. One is by offering more and better purpose-built facilities, such as protected cycle paths, athletics tracks, pull-up bars and outdoor ice skating rinks. The other is by improving air quality, which can be a significant disincentive to exercising outdoors in urban centres.

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Young runner doing push ups

© baranq / Fotolia

Local and national authorities take the urban planning decisions that shape facilities in public parks and the space given to walkers and cyclists, but the EU does influence those decisions by promoting greener urban planning through sustainable urban transport plans, including by handing out annual prizes and offering detailed guidance on how to improve city transport networks, step by step. The EU’s urban air quality standards are among the strictest in the world, allowing less than half as much nitrogen dioxide as the US or Canada. By encouraging people to switch to exercise-intensive transportation like cycling, and by attracting people outside with cleaner air, the EU is helping people who want to exercise outdoors.

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