At the LNWM Thought Forum several years ago, Dr. Douglas Brinkley reminded LNWM clients and guests why we need to do more to preserve the nature around us, while encouraging people young and old, of all races and ethnicities, to seek out the great outdoors. It’s because “nature often cures what ails us,” said Brinkley. For confirmation, fast forward to May 26, 2015 and the release of a new study on exercise.
The study reported on people who track their workouts through MapMyFitness and related apps. It’s no coincidence that the states where fitness-minded people worked out the most — an average of 82 to 87 minutes a week — are all in the western U.S.: Washington ranks third, just behind California and Colorado.
These results indicate there’s “a huge environmental contributor” to exercising more, according to an exercise expert from the University of Texas. “Access to parks is tremendous. If you think about Seattle or Oregon, the ability to get into nature is something that attracts people.”
Washington, D.C., where I lived for eight years, came in dead last – at just 43 minutes of exercise time per week. But a high percentage of that time was spent running (62%), which makes sense to me. There are a lot of young people in D.C. and running is what a lot of us did for exercise. Would I have kept that up as I got older? In CA, CO and WA, lower-impact walking was almost as prevalent as running.
I’m not surprised that a friend who has lived in Paris for 15 years now wants to move back to Seattle because people here like to get out and exercise. But hold on there…
Even in the western U.S., people don’t seem to be getting nearly enough exercise. The recommended weekly dose of mildly strenuous activity is 150 minutes a week — 2.5 hours. That’s about double the California results — 87 minutes weekly, the highest logged.
So no excuses for those of us already living in the Seattle area. Whether we live near Green Lake, the Arboretum, Bellevue Park or Luther Burbank Park, there are wonderful green spaces nearby inviting us to get off the couch and breathe deep.