Active in Bedford

Evidence (PDF) has shown that our built environment helps residents develop and maintain healthier lifestyles. Town Leadership, community partners, and residents play a role in shaping the built environment through their planning processes, provision and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities in their communities, and also through their leadership power to bring together various agencies and community groups to create environments that support active and healthy living. Bedford has committed to this effort through a variety of partnerships and initiatives.

Bedford's Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Planning (PDF) process is was completed in 2015. The plan provides recommendations for pedestrian and bike facilities throughout Bedford, including detailed concept improvements along six roadways, along with non-infrastructure improvements.

Bedford has partnered with the state in the Complete Streets (PDF) initiative.

Free Bicycle Lending Program in Bedford!

The Bedford Health and Human Services Department maintains a Bicycle Lending program for Bedford residents. We provide short-term loans of bicycles, as well as bicycle equipment to youth programs as well as individual riders of all ages who are seeking to begin or expand their riding abilities. The program is also available to Bedford organizations in need of a bike or a bike fleet to be able to provide some of their own programming, such as bicycle safety training. Current equipment available includes nine youth bicycles, two larger bikes suitable for adults and helmets.

This program is an extension of Bedford's Safe Routes to School partnership that works to increase safe biking and walking among elementary and middle school students by using a collaborative, community-focused approach that bridges the gap between health and transportation. Bedford's Bicycle Lending program supports this important effort and highlights the benefits of biking whether it's for fitness, transportation, or enjoyment.

Please contact Healthy Bedford, or call Healthy Communities Coordinator Carla Olson at 781-275-7727, ext. 4330 for more information.

This project was funded in part through CHNA15 DoN funds from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center as well as other community partners.

Body Mass Index

What is Body Mass Index and why are schools checking and reporting this information?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity. According to the American Heart Association, a body mass index can be determined with this equation: multiply your weight in pounds by 703, divide by your height in inches, then divide again by your height in inches. A body mass index of under 20 is considered to be underweight, while a body mass index between 20 to 25 is considered healthy. A body mass index in the range of 25 to 30 is regarded as overweight. A body mass index over 30 is regarded as obese. The National Institute of Health provides this online BMI calculator.

In 2009, The Massachusetts Public Health Council unanimously approved regulations that require public schools to calculate student's heights and weights into Body Mass Index measurements and send the results home to parents of students in 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th grades, along with a package explaining what they mean and how parents can best combat obesity. (Parents can opt their children out of BMI screening). See BMI Frequently Asked Questions.


Exercise is one of the few activities you can do that can improve every aspect of your life, body and mind. Most major organizations (Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Heart Association (AHA) have essentially identical exercise recommendations for adults: a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-cardiovascular exercise (equivalent to brisk walking/modest jogging) a day, most days of the week. In addition, individuals should try to incorporate resistance exercise (weight lifting) into their routine. The American Heart Association goes on to say that individuals trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss should aim for 60 to 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, and that individuals looking to further improve their physical fitness and reduce their risk of disease may benefit from exceeding these minimum recommendations.

The National Institute on Aging created Go4Life to help older adults fit exercise and physical activity into daily life. Find free, evidence-based resources including sample exercises with print and video demonstration, tools to set personal exercise goals and track your progress and more.

Area resources for fitness, recreation and health education:

Bedford is fortunate to have lots of connectivity through paths, conservation land, trails, and the bikeway. To help plot out your adventure see:

Google Map Pedometer - allows you to:

  1. Type in a city to start. Or zoom and drag to begin where you wish to begin
  2. Draw your walking or biking route by clicking on the Google Map
  3. Use map view, satellite view, or hybrid view with both streets and satellite photo
  4. See the distance in miles or kilometers

Additional Resources for Bicycling