I noticed it when I went to Amsterdam a few years ago too, and San Francisco, even though the cultures between all these cities couldn’t be more different.
You’d think that going for country walks and cycle rides in our leisure time would make us fitter, slimmer and healthier than smog surrounded city dwellers, but there’s one factor that makes them different to us –
Public Transport. Lemme explain.
Here I can walk to school (and do) but it’s just as easy to drive if I chose to or if it’s raining, in fact many parents in my street do even though it’s only a 15 min walk.
Same with the local Co-Op convenience store – driving is definitely quicker at 2 minutes rather than 10 minutes to walk, parking is never a problem, and when all you need is milk at 6pm it’s way more convenient to hop in your car.
If I worked in my nearest town I’d definitely drive.
But If I lived in London? Traffic, no parking, awkward one way systems and congestion charges mean it’s actually much more stress to drive than walk, hence everyone walks, gets on the tube or bus, does more walking and climbs those huge underground escalators several times a day just to get to work and back.
Any lightbulbs going off?
Of course there are many people including myself and several friends who choose to be active, like exercise or walk to school, but we have to go out of our way to do it, because we know driving would be easier.
It’s an effort.
Unlike in a city where it’s the other way round – walking, stepping, standing, more walking – that’s a fair amount of activity with no formal exercise whatsoever.
And that’s why so many people struggle to be more active in their day to day life – it’s just not convenient.
You have to go out of your way to make it happen.
So how do you do this?
You make it as easy as possible to do it.
Can’t get out of the house? Do something at home – my BodyBack workouts are all home workout videos with no equipment needed.
Not much time? Do short HIIT circuits, even 10 minutes is very effective.
Knackered by the evening? Get up 15 minutes earlier, have a coffee (if you want), and get it over with – you’ll probably find it energises and fires you up for the day ahead too.
Can’t be bothered? Sorry I can’t help with that one, maybe you need to have a good think about whether getting in shape is important to you or not. And no diet pills and strap on electrocuting belts don’t work.