Pretty much everyday I pass the local YMCA. It is a nice building surrounded by a beautiful park, and it is on my way to the grocery store and metro. A couple days ago, I walked past it when it was about 70 degrees out and perfectly clear blue skies. The birds were out and all the flowers were welcoming in the springtime.
As I walked past, I noticed that every single treadmill was taken up by someone walking or running while watching the little TV screens. Now call me old-fashioned, but when it’s perfectly lovely outside what is the attraction of staying in one place? The Y is nice, but it is still a gym. It certainly doesn’t smell better than a flowery spring day.
My neighborhood is very walkable, so why do people find a need to drive to and pay money to go to the gym? Why not just walk to the grocery store and schlep a couple bags home. I can attest to the fact that this can be a wonderful workout, and a great way to keep the veggies you eat very fresh. Not to mention, it becomes far less appealing to buy oreos when you are going to have to carry them home.
Many people say that this walkable lifestyle is central to the “French paradox”. The French can eat fattier and richer foods than us because they are walking pretty much everywhere. When people aren’t walking (outside) even though they live in one of the few walkable neighborhoods, what does that say about our society?
For more on the new old-fashioned: