Places for physical activity

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help build stronger neighborhoods and communities, confront health disparities, and address the social determinants of health. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Consists of expanding areas (and access to those areas) for physical activity in communities, such as exercise facilities or trails
  • Aims to boost physical activity and fitness and potentially influence reduced obesity rates
  • Evidence suggests that complementary efforts to ensure the safety and quality of such places may play an important role alongside access in ensuring uptake of activity

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Better access to exercise facilities improves fitness and boosts activity across diverse types of communities
  • Safety and quality of facilities may play an important role in ensuring uptake of physical activity

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • For places for physical activity to be successful, they must ensure that visitors feel safe and secure on the premises. New spaces should include bright lighting, open views, street access, and high pedestrian visibility.
  • Human-centered design approaches can increase facility utilization and strengthen community support of new spaces.