How Americans have fallen out of love, and then love to walk again - ForumDaily
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How Americans fell out of love, and then again fell in love to walk

Фото: Depositphotos

Gateway to America was the city of Winston Salem, North Carolina. For a month, I was practicing on local television. Everything was new: food, air, duties, colleagues, friends. My brain just did not have time to process information.

Although the living conditions were wonderful - friendly colleagues, a hospitable hostess who sheltered at home - something was very lacking. What exactly, I realized on my first day off when I went with my girlfriend to the nearby city of Charlotte. Coming out of the car, we walked to the restaurant. I suddenly felt like a calf, which after a long winter was released into the clearing. Walk, I can walk! I did not do this all week, and managed to get bored of it.

Americans barely walk on foot, although they have gradually developed this habit in themselves over the past few years. How and why this happens, Tatiana Vorozhko told in her blog for “VOA".

Winston-Salem has very little public transport, not enough sidewalks. Those who want to use their legs for their intended purpose often must go to a special “health path” (hiking trail) or to the stadium.

Among American cities with a population of more than 200, 000, Winston-Salem, is in third place from the end for convenience for pedestrians, according to real estate agency analysis Redfin. The latter, according to this rating, is Fayatswil, which is located in the same North Carolina, and on the second, Chesapeake, Virginia.

The best city for those who do not have a car, as well as tourists and anyone who just loves to move, is New York. In the top three - Jersey City and San Francisco, Washington - in the ninth. The most convenient for pedestrians cities are mainly located on the coast, and the least - in the south of the country, including Florida.

It is noteworthy that residents of different regions of the United States have different attitudes towards the use of their musculoskeletal system.

“My mother is a typical Texas resident,” says my friend Sarah. “After leaving the store, she will get into the car and drive 50 meters to the restaurant, which is located in the same shopping complex.”

Sarah herself, after moving to Washington, took the habit of walking and dropped 13 kg.

In Atlanta, Georgia, where I lived for a while, you could see people running along the highway in 40-degree heat, but when I walked around the city doing my own business, I could not meet other passersby. And motorists sometimes stopped to ask if everything was all right with me.

Every resident of the United States can find out how convenient his area for walking is: for this you need to enter your address on the website www.walkscore.com. Best - 100 points. Our address in the Washington DC metro area is rated only 11 points. To get anywhere, you need a car, the app developers told me. But the multi-storey building where we lived before scored as much as 83 points. It is located close to the metro, restaurants, shops, dentistry, beauty salons, dry cleaners and even the immigration office. The average score for the largest 2500 US cities is 43.

The automotive industry began to change American cities in the late XIX century. Tom Vanderbilt described these metamorphosis for Slate magazine: “Existing roads were expanded by pavements and chopping trees along the roads to prevent cars from crashing into them. For transport to move faster, shops and other centers of activity moved from the curb to separate shopping centers, which made it possible not to place pedestrian crossings on fairly long sections of the route. The more people bought cars, the farther from the business center they built residential villages with large houses. People who were engaged in planning, began to consider pedestrians as an inconvenience and danger to themselves and motorists. The more uncomfortable it became to walk, the less there were willing to do it. ”

According to research by Stephanie Rosenblum, in half of the cases, a pharmacy or store for a person at the age of 65 is less than half a mile (800 meters) from his apartment, but only in 5% of cases they go there on foot. Half of the respondents aged over 50 in another survey explained that they did not walk because it was impossible to safely cross the road.

My child goes to school by bus, even though our house is only a 5-minute walk away. There is a path and even trees. But it’s impossible to cross the road between us and the school - it’s incredibly busy in the morning, and there’s no traffic light.

Americans go much less residents of other industrialized countries. Researches show: If the average Australian walks almost 10 steps a day (this is exactly how many doctors recommend), the Swiss - 000, and the Japanese - 9650, then an American takes only 7168 steps per day.

I personally see a great advantage when not only to the store or restaurant, but also part of the road to work, you have to walk. In the gym, even if it is located in the same building, you must also force yourself to go and find time for it. And you have to go to work every day, even if you do not get enough sleep and you don’t have time to go in for sports.

At least half an hour a day I walk on any scale, despite the poor rating of my address, because I use public transport (I leave the car at the metro).

The past few years are gaining popularity in walking communities. (walkable communities). Even in Winston-Salem.

It has long been known that walking is good for health. Hippocrates also wrote that “Walking is the best medicine.” Most proven is the effect of walking on reducing diseases of the cardiovascular system. According to other studies, regular walking reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, helps to avoid dementia, has a positive effect on memory, strengthens the immune system, strengthens bones, helps increase energy and improves mood, reducing the risk of depression. Walking also helps keep weight normal, reducing the health risks associated with obesity.

Some doctors and fitness trainers advised to walk in addition to other physical exercises. Others indicate for the benefit of walking for certain categories of the population itself. Compared to running, walking has a much lower risk of injury and is available to people with any physical fitness. It is unlikely that someone over the age of one and a half does not know how to do this, and will look like an amateur.

There are many enthusiasts in the United States who love walking. Public organizations are calling for this, including: GirlTreck. Her goal is to get black women, a population with the worst mortality rates from chronic diseases associated with excess weight, to walk. They do this with inspiration and borrowing methods from the black movement for their rights, such as creating networks and meetings in churches.

In the US, so-called meetings on the move are becoming popular. (walking meetings). Mark Zuckerberg, President and Founder, practices discussion during the walk. Facebook. The late Steve Jobs, the company's founder, loved to do the same. Apple. It is difficult for me to estimate how massively this is being done, but even in the Voice of America premises there was a poster with the call to “walk and talk.”

Stanford University Study confirmed what many had already guessed: you think better on the go. In their experiment, people who walked gave twice as many creative responses to tasks as those who sat. And they walked, by the way, along the picturesque paths of the university campus, and along the treadmill with a view of the wall - it didn’t matter. In the control group, which was pushed in wheelchairs among the most pleasant sights, creativity did not increase.

Some scientists assume that this is a consequence of evolution, because all complex decisions were made by mankind in motion - for example, how to coordinate efforts to collapse a mammoth together, or to hide from a saber-toothed tiger. 95% of its history anatomically modern man was a nomad, who on his own two moved to the “best pastures”.

Some companies are trying to take advantage of this feature of human nature. For example, in the new premises of the company Pixar, in the design of which Steve Jobs participated, there are very few toilets. So that people, until they reach the need, have come up with something interesting.

So, the development of convenient and affordable public transport, the laying of sidewalks, on which it is pleasant to walk, and the placement of safe pedestrian crossings is a huge contribution to improving the health of the population, the environment and even enhancing the creative potential of cities. And the designers of American cities in recent years have begun to put these ideas into practice.

Translation of the text of the blog prepared editionNew time".

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