Health minister Meegan Fitzharris' portfolio has been expanded to take in "wellbeing" as the government releases a two-pronged strategy to reduce the rate of heart disease and diabetes in the territory.
Millions of dollars has been set aside in next Tuesday's ACT Budget for path upgrades to make it easier for Canberrans to keep fit by walking and riding.
This includes $4.7 million for the new Belconnen Bikeway and $20,000 for 10 new bike racks.
A development application will be submitted for the bike path this year with construction to start next year, Ms Fitzharris said.
Already announced was an extra $1.5 million in the budget to improve walking and cycle paths in the Belconnen suburb of Page and Hughes in Woden.
This is on top of the recurrent $2.5 million over four years for community path upgrades
They will also set aside $1 million per year in the next term of government for grants for preventative health strategies to address smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity, including a one-off $170,000 grant to Heart Foundation ACT.
The dual approach will help prevent the on-set of chronic health conditions through exercise and education, Ms Fitzharris said.
This focus on preventative health is the reason why her title has been expanded to minister for health and wellbeing.
"What all the evidence shows us and what all the experts tell us is two things that we can really tackle are obesity and lack of physical activity as well as smoking and alcohol consumption. We all know they play a part particularly in the burden on individuals and the health system particularly on heart disease and diabetes," Ms Fitzharris said.
"We live, I think, in the best city in Australia and we can be Australia's healthiest city. The Belconnen bikeway is a real flagship walking and cycling project in in the Belconnen town centre because we'll be separating bike paths from roads so all the different users of the roads and path network in the Belconnen town centre will be able to move around much more freely."
Heart Foundation ACT chief executive Tony Stubbs said their grant would help them finish a six-year project to move Canberra away from being a car-based city by changing the ACT Territory Plan.
It would see future developments planned around walking, cycling and public transport as well as cars.
"The good and bad thing about Canberra is it's a planned city and there's wonderful things that come from that but it was planned around cars and we know from the Sydney, Melbourne and more recently Brisbane experience you can't just keep building more roads, they'll just fill up so we need to work out strategy for an integrated public transport network and walking and cycling paths to connect to all of that," Mr Stubbs said.
"It's really about creating a city that's healthier, more sustainable in the future when the density is quite high, that it will be easier to walk or cycle around than drive."
Mr Stubbs said giving people the option to walk or cycle to work would help improve the overall health of the community and could relieve pressure on the hospital.
"We're a very car-centric town and while people are out jogging no one really gets that incidental 30 minutes of exercise. A lot of people walk into their garage, drive into work, get into the lift and sit all day and do the same on the way back," Mr Stubbs said.
"Sixty-three per cent of the adult population is overweight or obese in Canberra and one in four children are too. One of the ways to address this is getting people to exercise more but it's challenging in the current environment."
That's a challenge the Osborne family has wholeheartedly embraced.
Dave Osborne and his wife Kate cycle to the shops and to weekend sport with their four children Patrick, 12, Ryan, 10, Liam, 8, and Olivia, 5.
The family owns one car because of "cost of living pressures", Mr Osborne said, but Mrs Osborne said they've embraced it as a way of life.
"We get a lot of incidental exercise as a result of only having one car between us and having to rely on the power of our bodies to get us from A to B," she said.