A guest post by Steve
Colleen and I have been talking about some of the goals for her Green Team Project. Not only is protecting the Earth important, but increasing our physical activity by walking or biking when we can. Not only will you lower your greenhouse gas emissions, but you'll get more physically fit and this can be great for your health.
A trip to a European city sends the message that people tend to be much fitter. For short trips Europeans are much more likely to walk or ride a bike than Americans. Lack of physical activity is not the only cause for obesity, but it is interesting to look at physical activity and obesity in various countries.
The chart plots the percentage of obese adults in several countries along with the percentage of adults who walk or take a bicycle for short trips. Obesity is defined as a body mass index greater than thirty. Recent surveys show over thirty four percent of American adults are obese, compared to numbers in the high single digits or low teens in Europe. Americas were much lighter, on average, forty years ago and activity levels were significantly higher than now. It should be stressed that lack of activity alone does not cause obesity, but there is a correlation. This chart is meant to spur thought. (a more conventional plot appears on my blog)
As Spring breaks out around the country, think about taking a walk at lunch rather than sitting in a cafeteria. Take that old bike in for an overhaul and ride it to work, school, or to the store. You don't have to do it every day and for every trip, but it can make a big difference and your strength will improve the more you do it.
Perhaps it is time to visit a bike store and make an investment in your own health as well as the planet's. You might be surprised to learn there are practical bikes with comfortable riding positions that aren't made for winning bike races or riding down mountains. Bikes that are made for errands, commuting and just staying in shape rather than being a bicycle athlete.
Kids can do this too. How many of you wait for your parents to cart you around? Jump on a bike and just do it. Those of you who are interested in looking good, maybe even sexy, should think about what exercise does for your body.
If you don't bike, consider walking more. I walk a fair amount and have come to love that time of the day. I use an iPod in areas that are boring and take a close look at nature in the woods. You have a different outlook on life when you witness nature and change every day for an hour at a time. I even had a vulture following me for a few months and the local coyote knows me. People can be good company, but nature is full of surprises.
bike and walk!
do it for the Earth
do it for your health
do it to look great!
Colleen will have much more to say on the subject, her project focuses on getting people more active - stay tuned!
note: only about one percent of short trips in America use a bike, the rest shown here are walking. twenty five percent of short trips in the Netherlands use bikes and twenty two percent are walking.