Social supports are a strategy that provide supportive social networks, friendships, and actions that can help people start, maintain, or increase physical activity. Social supports include buddy systems and walking or other activity groups. Individuals, organizations, and communities can use the following approaches to create inclusive and accessible groups and programs that help people of all ages and abilities be physically active together:
Walking or other activity groups.
Walking or other activity groups provide individuals with support and a shared experience of being physically active. Strategies can include engaging community members and partners, organizing resources, and recruiting leaders.
Groups that support people with disabilities or chronic conditions.
These groups use approaches that are relevant and appropriate for people with disabilities or those who have chronic health conditions so they can participate in physical activity. Inclusion as a shared value of program staff and agencies can help programs and facilities welcome and accommodate everyone.
GirlTrek Organizer 101*
This website offers resources for African American women and girls to join a civil rights-inspired health movement to reestablish walking as a healing tradition in Black communities. It offers tools for mobilizing community members to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living by organizing walking teams or other advocacy efforts.
Mall Walking: A Program Resource Guide [PDF-5.2MB]
This guide is for community organizations and mall managers who want to start or enhance a mall walking program in partnership with community coalitions. It aims to encourage development of mall walking programs by providing information about the health benefits of walking and how these programs can help people walk more. It includes examples of non-mall venues such as sports arenas or others that may be more relevant for rural areas, such as large stores, community or senior centers, or faith-based settings.
Walk This Way! A Guide for Developing Community and Individual Walking Programs* [PDF-4.8MB]
This toolkit has resources for individuals, community organizations, faith-based institutions, schools, and employers to encourage and support people to walk more and create walkable environments. It describes benefits of walking along with ideas for creating walking challenges.
Walk with a Doc Tools*
This website has a portal with tools and resources for doctors to start their own Walk with a Doc program and for community members to find or start a program. During a typical walk, doctors give a brief presentation on a health topic and then lead participants on a walk at their own pace to facilitate discussion. The website includes information on marketing, health topics, and resources provided by “headquarters,” including a starter kit and liability insurance.
Teachers, coaches, and other adults can use this resource to educate young children on disability awareness and adapted sports. This educational tool aims to bridge the gap between people with and without disabilities at a young age.
Inclusive Sports and Fitness [PDF-5.1MB]
This resource can help schools provide inclusive sports opportunities. It describes why these opportunities are important, outlines three basic models, and includes a checklist for developing each model. Tips for success and templates for creating an action plan are included.
Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults with Disabilities
This website offers resources for doctors and health professionals who play a role in promoting physical activity among their adult patients with disabilities. It outlines key guidelines, tips for discussing barriers, and recommendations for physical activity options.
*Can be used to help address equitable and inclusive access to physical activity