In the gym, exercise is not as simple as hitting the gym.

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In the gym, exercise is not as simple as hitting the gym.

On Thursday, Ms. Kaleena Welch risked her life to exercise. She travels along the shoulder of La Brea Boulevard, south of Los Angeles, and limits her speed to 45 MPH, which is usually close to 60 miles per hour. When she saw a blind curve on the road, she waited for the traffic to calm down and enter the road.

“I had to run and jump,” she says. “then the clues started again. “This is ridiculous. I just hope and pray. ”

Welch wanted to join a gym, but there was only one option nearby, and most of the time it was so crowded that she couldn’t get time on a machine. There is no park near her. She is one of millions of people living in the “fitness desert”, where there are few opportunities for movement.

Like the food desert – where residents have no reliable access to fresh food – the fitness desert poses a health challenge to millions of americans, mainly low-income people. A full 80% of census block not park within one and a half miles, [released last year, according to the U.S. centers for disease control and prevention report center PDF. Studies have shown that in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, d.c., and other cities around the country exists in the gap of these poor communities make obesity problem becomes more complicated.

Sometimes creative exercise solutions can lead to formal exercise space. Baldwin mountain scenic spot overlooking the stair and path, for example, is now a popular part of the national park, but people as early as 2000 before officially designated space, once the mountain as a way of hiking and exercise.

“Things have been like this since ancient times: people have discovered that places with natural features are suitable for their use. Now, if people want to exercise, people tend to incline to steep slopes. “Baldwin Hills protection association (Baldwin Hills Conservancy) executive director David McNeill (David McNeill), said the state’s board of directors to increase the Baldwin Hills region open space and recreational opportunities.

Mr McNeill is working to finance Mr Welch’s proper path on La Brea, and to protect hikers from heavy traffic. The cost of the project could range from $60,000 to $300,000.

But critics argue that such spending is not always worth the money, arguing that motivation is a more pressing public health challenge than the lack of options in the fitness desert. “We’re talking about the relatively small populations that use these Spaces,” said Toni Yancey, a public health scholar at the university of California, Los Angeles.

Yancey points out that a 1999 study found that 30 percent of people in western Los Angeles had exercise and no exercise at all, suggesting a lack of access might not be the biggest problem. She argues that limited public money is best spent on incentives, such as workplace exercise programs for people who have long sat.

But she admits that “there are more choices that can’t hurt” and that more parks can help narrow the gap between more affluent neighbourhoods. More people will almost certainly use the trail if they are safer and clearly marked. But for now, dedicated fitness enthusiasts in south Los Angeles and the fitness desert are carving out their own paths.

In a recent drive by La Brea, McNeil pointed out that a runner was jogging in the middle of the two cars. He may not know, but the runner is an activist, McNeil says.

“You have to reconcile these people because they are making a statement that they will find a way to walk or exercise. I have to say, ‘you’re gone, we’ll do our best to support you.’ Because you shouldn’t say that, it should be around you. “

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