Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One reason to bike for transportation: living longer/better life

Salt Lake City has developed a loop bicycle tour of the city, and has branded signage for the routeWith the rise of automobility as the primary means of transportation in the United States, as well as a shift from jobs involving a great deal of labor to office-based (sitting) employment, people exercise a lot less.

An important reason for my choice of biking as transportation has to do with the health impacts. My father died in his early 50s, so did his brother. Their father died in his late 40s.

Another reason I chose to bike is that I am not so organized and "hard core" so that I would join a gym and work out regularly.

Health-wise it helps that my first job in DC was for a nutrition health advocacy group, so I learned a lot about nutrition--even though it still took many years for me to begin to cook for myself.

The Washington Post ran a couple stories over the past few days on the significant rise in the rate of premature deaths on the part of white women, especially in rural areas. The early deaths tend to be result from what are referred to as "lifestyle choices" -- drinking, smoking, using drugs -- although the article attributes this in large part to anomie, malaise, significant changes in rural economies, etc.

A couple paragraphs from the second story ("Why death rates for white women in rural America are spiking") confirm the value of my biking (and not using drugs, drink only a bit, and try to eat healthfully):
Other trends may be contributing to the die-off, including obesity. Americans are the heaviest people in the world outside a few Pacific island nations; more than a third of adults in the United States are considered obese. The average American woman today weighs as much as an American man did in the early 1960s.

Obesity causes its own kind of liver disease and can be lethal in combination with other conditions, such as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
Even though I have now outlived my father, and I could do more (weights, eat even less meat), it could merely be happenstance.

(Note that biking doesn't help me lose weight.  But I maintain my weight through this form of regular exercise that simultaneously gets me to and from places.)

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At 6:22 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

every man is either a fool or own physician after 30....

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I definitely would weigh a lot more were I not biking. My brother, granted he is taller, weighs 40+ pounds more than I.

The thing about working at Center for Science in the Public Interest is that it "reset" my understanding about behavior-related contribution to health distress.

... but just because you eat healthfully (I can't claim I am perfect, I just think about how I thought about my then boss before reality set in) doesn't mean you don't get sick.


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