The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a large group is failing to meet the recommended exercise standard.
Just 64% of all adults practise 2.5 hours of moderate to high-intensity exercise per week, despite the coronavirus crisis highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise.
"The pandemic has once again proven that exercise is an important element of a healthy lifestyle. People with an unhealthy lifestyle run a greater risk of becoming seriously ill when infected," a campaign statement read.
In the coming four years, the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living, Sport Flanders, the Flemish Logos and the Agency for Care and Health will focus on different themes, linking communes' mobility-friendliness to exercise opportunities.
Bike to bakery
During the first year, the campaign will call on cities and municipalities to help get people in Flanders moving by placing street signs referring to the "Every step counts" campaign.
Street signs will show that small distances between useful locations in the neighbourhood also result in extra steps.
"Question every trip: wouldn't it be healthier and perhaps even faster to go to the bakery, the butcher or the supermarket on foot or by bike? We have to cultivate these reflexes," said Flemish Minister of Sports Ben Weyts.
Communes taking part in the campaign - so far, 218 Flemish cities and municipalities (73%) have committed to making investments and to place street signs to encourage their residents to become more active - will receive help from the government to implement measures, including making places mobility-friendly.
In the coming years, the campaign will focus on helping municipalities to create exercise routes, improving facilities for people on foot, and finally, to set up local exercise actions in cooperation with the associations.