Modes of Transportation Related to Physical Health…

Filed under :Chicago vs. Suburbs, Health promoting

Regular physical activity has many benefits, including: reducing the risk of obesity and helping people live longer healthier lives. Yet, studies show that less then 10% of adults in the U.S. get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Walking and bicycling for daily transportation are important sources of physical activity, but they have dramatically declined over the last few decades.

Here are some key research findings, supporting the benefits of: walking, bicycling, and using public transportation as important physical activities:

  • People who used public transportation, (i.e. subway, bus, commuter rail, etc.) for any reason, were less likely to be sedentary, or obese – than the adults who did not use public transportation.  Those who use public transportation on average walk 30 minutes or more each day to and from public transportation stops.  Conversely, reliance on the automobile for all travel was associated with higher obesity rates (Environment and Behavior, 2007).
  • Proximity to public transportation stops is linked to higher transit use and, therefore, higher levels of physical activity among adults (American Journal of Health Promotion, 2007).
  • Walking as a form of transportation can have beneficial consequences for communities. Less driving helps relieve congestion. Also, the well-designed landscape and residential density will improve air quality more than the additional roadways. Regulatory and design strategies, including: traffic-calming measures, sidewalks, bike paths, and tunnels – help make communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists (Public Works & Natural Resources, 2002).

Consider incorporating walking or public transportation into your everyday life!  Building-in these habits will help you keep active, burn calories, and maintain overall health.

The main two reasons that people report for not exercising are lack of energy and time. Well, physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, nor does it have to consume a long amount of time to be beneficial.  It should be fairly easy to fit in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, about five times a week, along with small lifestyle changes such as: parking the car in a farther spot, taking the stairs, or using public transportation – instead of the automobile.

I believe that once you start walking, you become physically active and may start doing additional physical activity, such as: running, or cycling – and you will be on your way to a healthier, happier, and more energetic “you”! 🙂

Diet and Personal Identity…

Filed under :Health promoting

“Food habits” refers to the way how we: use, select, obtain, prepare, serve, and of course, eat food.

Today, this can be divided to further complicated psychological concepts regarding eating and personality.

Did you ever hear of the term “You are what you eat”?

Would you agree with this concept regarding your diet, personality, and lifestyle?

Some cultures believe that because milk is a food for infants it will weaken adults, some consume gelatin to improve their bone strength (gelatin is made from animal bones), while others may eat walnuts to improve their brain health (walnuts resemble the brain in appearance).

The correlation between what people eat, how they are perceived by others, and how they characterize themselves is very interesting.

In one study, researchers listed foods typical of five diets: Vegetarian, gourmet, health food, fast food, and synthetic food. It was found that each category was associated with a certain personality type.  Vegetarians were considered to be pacifists and likely to drive foreign cars. Gourmets were believed to be liberal and sophisticated.  Health food fans were described as antinuclear activists and democrats. Fast food and synthetic food eaters were believed to be religious, conservative, and wearers of polyester clothing.  These stereotypes were confirmed by self description and personality tests completed by people whose diets fell into the five categories (Kittler, Sucher, Food and Culture).

Another study asked college students to rate profiles of people based on their diets.  The persons who ate “good” foods were judged thinner, fitter, and more active than persons with the identical physical characteristics and exercise habits who ate “bad” foods (Kittler, Sucher, Food and Culture).

My opinion is that the food choice is, in fact, influenced by self identity, and self expression.  I believe that you have to have a certain personality to be a: vegetarian, vegan, an omnivore, to love fast food, or prefer to be a health food fan!