Thursday, July 23, 2009

Those Slim Manhattanites

I just caught a NY Times headline that said Manhattanites are the slimmest among residents of any county in New York State.

Most of the article dealt with the culture of fitness among the wealthy and people's motivations to stay slim or look good. Thankfully, though, the very first explanation given was the one that I think hits the nail squarely on the head -- people who live in Manhattan walk a lot. Owning a car there is prohibitively expensive, and walking is just an easier, better way to get around.

On National Start Walking Day, Richard Howe posted a Bill Maher video clip with a great rant about American diet culture. Maher was lampooning those drug company commercials that always start with, "When diet and exercise don't work..." Maher's well-delivered response was that "Diet and exercise DO WORK!!"

My next entry is going to be based on some thoughts that have swirled around since the blogosphere was set ablaze by Rita Mercier's comments at the last City Council meeting. One of them is going to be why I moved to Lowell, and specifically to Downtown Lowell. As Kathleen Marcin said in a Sun interview a few months ago, and as I'm sure many others have before and will since, one of the greatest things about Downtown is parking your car on Friday afternoon and not starting it again until Monday morning.

I love walking, I'm neutral on driving, but I hate parking. I'll always prefer a nice walk to a drive just like I'll always hit zero for a live operator and always prefer a real breeze to a sealed-off blast of A/C.

I may not be a fan of most Manhattanites' political persuasions or attitudes about whether New York is or isn't the center of the universe.

But there's one thing they seem to be getting right that, unfortunately, most of this country is still getting wrong.

If 7-11 is 200 yards away from your house, try walking instead of driving. Although each trip is just one small thing, the cumulative effect can apparently have a significant long-term impact on your state of well-being.


C R Krieger said...

I thought about commenting in some detail and then thought better of it.  Besides, I have to get ready to drive to Braintree.  I love driving.

Regards  —  Cliff

The New Englander said...


Braintree, eh? I might love driving again someday, but at least until my current job is over (almost there!!) I keep that in check. Too many hours in the car, too much caffeine needed to support it..