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Greenways: healthy ways

The rise of the sport has been linked, in most cases, to the creation of the necessary infrastructure to ensure that sport is performed under the best possible conditions.


Physical activity is a broad definition in which practices of many different types are included. Beyond the professional practice of a sport, often close to anyone one way or another sport in its different variants. And the walking and cycling are two of the pillars on which our society rests his fitness. Walkers and cyclists daily invade the streets of cities and gradually increase, its closest environment is becoming smaller. It begins to have the need to find alternative routes in which to tune the body, but also always cultivating the mind with pleasant natural surroundings make that walk. The issue that we address in this article comes in response to the search to the supply route, with a double objective: to recover abandoned road and rail paths and encourage their use by hikers and bicycle. Greenways can be one of the names that can take that kind of offer.


Greenways are born with the impulse of associations related to the train in Spain and in other European countries. In Spain in 1993 the idea came from the Spanish Railway Foundation. Progress and modernization of the railway network had left without use different communication channels, including nearly 7,000 kilometers of railroads, the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Environment decided to adapt for use as trails for walking or biking. It's the beginning of greenways, twenty years later, still offering a natural space in which sport an original way and out of the more traditional routes. This is also a bet on sustainability and recycling, to give a second use obsolete infrastructure and encourage their use by the clean transportation and physical activity.
But not every track can be considered a pathway of this type. Be built or run along old railway platforms is the requirement sought to become part of this club. This condition gives some characteristics that allow its use for walking or cycling. But as the historic roads of Santiago (Way of St James) or the Ruta de la Plata (Way of Silver) has come to be regarded greenways, along transhumance roads no longer used or waterways.


In 1998, was created the European Greenways Association (AEVV), in which walkers way of special features eight European countries are included. They are allowing Greenways traveling through Europe with a different view. Outside the European Union it is possible to find hiking routes, mainly using old railways have followed that process. The organization Rail to Trails Conservancy (RTC) in the United States, the bike path in Mexico or Canadian greenways are other projects that show the rise of alternative and sustainable routes.

There are no conditions to use these trails, beyond the respect for the environment. There are numerous web pages that collect and guide tours, with data on location, length, conditions, points of interest and much more information. Compared to traditional sports or travel within the trade routes are a choice of leisure time in which to explore ecological and environmental values of different areas, and access to historical heritage that lies in the path of the tracks.


But it can stop many potential troubles walking these roads without having a high physical strength. Exactly the elements that define the tight layout greenways give its accessible, safe and easy character. The sections with gentle slopes, wide curves and away from roads, which are needed to run a train, the routes become accessible without major physical effort to be covered.
For all these reasons must be a designated route in any book of cycling fans resource. A rail adapted to the sport off the roads and the risk of accidents to cyclists often face. And all surrounded by nature.

Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Instituto de la Juventud de Extremadura