Posts Tagged 'walking'

The Very Best Diet, Part II

Last week I named the very best diet for weight loss as being one of low car use. That’s because our bodies were designed to get us from place to place with this cool gait called walking. My husband and I share just one car, and use public transit, our feet and our bikes for many of our trips. It’s more fun, too.

What else has been rising in the U.S. in the past decades besides car use, body weight and obesity rates? Television watching. We’re watching four hours a day per person on average. I haven’t met anyone who thinks that’s a good thing. Robert Putnam in his breakthrough book “Bowling Alone” showed that decreased exercise, voting, social activites, etc. are all so closely linked to increased television watching that we can fairly say heavy TV use crowds out the things that create healthy citizens.

That’s why I believe the second part of the very best diet for Americans is the diet for our televisions. The less time we spend sitting still watching it, the more we move around doing other things being relatively active, both physically and socially.

Thor and I watch literally no television. While we own a TV, it lives humbly downstairs in the basement, and gets used occasionally for a rented movie. If the weather is halfway decent the poor thing can be starved of any attention for weeks at a time. It’s not a flat-screen either — flat-screens use too much electricity and we believe in energy diets too . . . a topic for a future post.

Consider putting your television on a diet, too. I bet it helps you lose weight by opening up time for more activity, both physical and social.

Secret Lover, Secret Watchdog

The casual observer takes me for a mainstream professional in my 40’s. My secret identity as a passionate lover of public transit is revealed below for the first time.

My household’s single car is a well-worn, two-door 1993 Nissan Sentra. Paid for many years ago, our investment fund is now as plump as its floor-mats are thin. It sits humbly unused most days as we gallivant around on TriMet. (Our only burglary happened on a rare weekday I had taken the car on errands. The empty driveway seemed to signal nobody was home. Lesson: our car is most valuable as a watchdog.)

TriMet equals physical vitality for me. When I step off the bus or Max my legs are my locomotion to my final destination, strong and springy under my body. I am fit; I walk miles every week.

TriMet for me equals civic engagement. I brush shoulders with people from all income levels and backgrounds– and observe they pose no threat to me. I’ve logged thousands of miles using transit without incident or accident.

Most significantly, TriMet reduces my carbon footprint in the face of global warming. It lets me be a secret activist as well as a secret lover.