Most of us know we need to be more physically active than we are. We hear about the health benefits of a physically active life time and time again—weight loss, chronic disease prevention, stress management, and overall improved quality of life. We buy gym memberships and join fitness classes in an effort to exercise more.
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But have you ever looked at how your very lifestyle sets you up to be a couch potato? Understanding how your environment sets you up to be success-or fail- is the key to designing a lifestyle that makes being physically active the default option…
1. Taking the Car is the Default Option
Owning and using a car can be essential to some individuals’ lives. You might need it to get to work or as a way of carting home your groceries. But ask yourself this—when you talk to your friends or family members about going somewhere, do you just assume you will drive there? Do you ever pause to think how you could get there by walking or biking?
Walking instead of driving when possible is one of the simplest, but most effective things we can do to build our lives around physical activity, instead of just squeezing it in when possible. The next time you plan an outing, ask yourself first how you could do it (or at least parts of it) without the car. Can you choose a restaurant that’s close enough to walk to? Could you plan to drive downtown and then complete your errands on foot?