We love comparing ourselves to our friends, don’t we? I am a competitive person and it just seems like fun to see if I can move better than my friends, especially when they are younger! Wouldn’t you agree? It’s funny , we think of stiff people as being old and frail, however, I see many younger people that are stiffer than people nearly twice their age. I was just listening to a podcast about the movement of people in today’s society and the researcher mentioned something I had not really thought of. He said that the way our cities and neighborhoods are set up, they are not conducive to humans walking, biking, or running. The foods we eat contain more fat than ever, and technology is eliminating the need to move. IN my town, Sarasota, they are building some bike paths and walking trails, but the problem is they go no where. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in an area that you could walk to the grocery store, coffee shop, or even to work? The invention of the car allowed us to be spread out as it forced us to need a car to go from place to place. There are communities that are being built for people to do just that. I am hoping this trend will continue. The autonomous car and companies like Lyft and Uber are lessening the need for a car.
Our local Visit Sarasota group which promotes local businesses, are creating events for restaurants that buy local food for at least 6 months, gluten free menus, and prepare food in a healthy way. If we can get people to start looking for these traits in the restaurants they eat, we can start to change the way restaurants work. It takes a little work for now, but if we can get into the habit of searching out these restaurants and buying natural foods, especially those that grow locally in our communities, we can change so many diseases that people suffer from today. Shopping at local farmers markets is a step in the right direction and many cities promote these every week. We are lucky here as we have several that run on different days of the week.
So why should we take the time to do these things? It seems like a lot of effort. You are correct, it will take some effort in the beginning, but just as demand got us to this point, demand can get us back to where we need to be. Locally grown foods are best to eat because the foods that grow in your area are designed to help you survive the climate. If you notice that food that grown in the south typically are juicier than foods that grow in the north, Why? The high humidity in the south creates a higher need to stay hydrated, therefore the foods are geared to help you. Foods in the north, especially in the winter, are geared to put more fat on you to help deal with the cold. Foods like melons are in season in the summer for that reason. Today we can get melons are year long. the problem we do not need some much hydration in the winter plus, the shipping these foods from all over the whole is not efficient use of energy either.
Technology is a wonderful thing, and I certainly enjoy it. However, technology can make a bit lazy. We need the movement to keep our bodies functioning at a high level. You may not think that is so important, but that is what is driving the high health care costs in our country today. Never in our history have so many people lived to be so old. Because of that we have little data about how we actually age beyond 80 and yet, more and more people are hitting 80 and even 90 years of age. The possibility of most of us living into our 90’s should give us some pause about how to prepare ourselves so we can enjoy our lives longer and not be broke from the high cost of healthcare. Unless you have millions of dollars put away, 20-30 years of hospital stays and nursing homes will drain your retirement pretty quickly.
So smart small and develop the habits of taking a brisk walk every day. You don’t have to walk 5 miles on your first day and you don’t have to set a speed record either. Start looking at food as medicine to improve your health and buy from local farmers. If you are planning a move, look for neighborhoods that are walkable for the goods and services you need. All it takes is a few baby steps and before you know it becomes a way of life. As you and your friends begin to change your demands from merchants, the merchants will change their products and services for you. Let’s change the world one person at a time. You can do it!