The Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center at Griffin Hospital in Derby recently launched Active Valley CT, an online guide that provides information on free or low-cost resources for people who are either just starting to be active, or are already active and looking for new ideas.

To view the guide, visit avct.griffinhealth.org.

“Physical activity is not only fun — it has many health benefits as well,” said Judy Treu, research associate at the Center. “It can make people feel better, function better, and sleep better. It can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and can often help manage other conditions like arthritis and high blood pressure.”

Active Valley CT users can search for places to walk, run, hike, bike, swim, paddle a boat, play sports, use open fields, or enjoy winter sports. Each resource includes a description and address, and (if available) a link to the official website, contact information, and an online map. The guide also includes information on playgrounds, state parks, nature centers, Parks & Recreation departments, and senior centers. Most resources are based in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Naugatuck, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton.

“Being active doesn’t necessarily mean paying for a gym membership or buying special equipment,” Treu said. “It can simply mean finding activities that are enjoyable, and choosing a variety of those that get a person’s heart beating faster, strengthen bones, and build muscles.”

According to Treu, even short bouts of activity can help improve health. She recommends at least 2½ to 5 hours per week of moderate activity for adults, and at least an hour per day of moderate to vigorous activity for children.

Partners on this project include the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Naugatuck Valley Health District, Jack Walsh, of the Naugatuck River Greenway Steering Committee, Griffin Hospital, and the Valley YMCA.

The Prevention Research Center is now working to promote awareness of this resource, and is inviting local governments, community Parks & Recreation departments, school districts, healthcare providers, health agencies, and nonprofit organizations to provide links to this online portal from their own websites, and to share other promotional materials with those they serve. For more information, visit avct.griffinhealth.org, or contact Judy Treu at judy.treu@yalegriffinprc.org.