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Is Your Car Making You Fat?

More Drive Time May Mean More Unwanted Pounds

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  • We live 8 miles from the nearest town, so driving really is a necessity. That said, we generally try to find a shady spot to park (read that: "the farthest spot from the door"). And on the rare occasion that we stop at big burger, you will never see us go thru the drive-thru...where to get "in-n-out" you are in a line of at least 10-12 cars. But yes, as another commenter posted, when I was a kid, we had fast food maybe once a week, but we walked the mile or so there and back. Mom almost always had cookies for us made from scratch, but I remember that I played outside until it was dark. During Christmas vacation, I remember having a blast riding thru deep rainwater puddles with my bike to see how far the water would splash. When we lived near an irrigation canal, winter meant sloshing around in the canal to find trapped fish for the cats to eat. In other words, we were always active and doing something. Now, I can't remember the last time I saw kids tossing a football in the street, or playing basketball at the park...they're too busy with their phones for that. When they walk, it is at about a 1.5 mph snail crawl. Obesity in this country is going to get much worse before it gets better, because we haven't taught our kids to go out and have active fun. - 9/7/2016 10:41:00 AM
  • KLEMIE
    Finally. An article about not moving. I get so sick of all these reports and commercials about fast foods causing obesity. Yes, eating junk food will cause you to gain weight. But, hey, a calorie is a calorie. Everyone talks about supersize and fancy coffees. These have been around for as long as I remember. What hasn't been around is the drive thrus.

    We used to go to a fast food restaurant about once a week or so when I was a kid. We had a snack before bed every night; usually ice cream with chocolate syrup. Friday night was special. My sister and I would walk to the store and buy soda, a bag of chips and an individual sweet, like a fruit pie or cream horn.

    The difference then is we WALKED. Everywhere. Or rode our bikes. All day, everyday. If we went to a restaurant, we got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. If we went to the bank, we got out of the car and walked inside. In a town near us, there is even a drive-thru creamy stand. This generation has become sedentary. We have moved away from cities and become so busy, that we don't even think about getting out of our cars to run errands.

    Me included. That is why I have made a concious effort to park farther away and to try to stay away from tbe drive thrus. Thanks for this article and letting me vent! This has been on my mind for quite some time. - 3/13/2016 4:21:52 PM
  • I am one of the lucky ones. I am now retired and I live 6 miles from the grocery store. I am basically a home body and don't drive much. If I drive to GA (5 or 6 hours) to visit my sister, I always stop two times during the drive to stretch my legs. - 3/13/2016 2:46:41 PM
  • I try to walk everywhere I can now, even if it's an over two hour walk. It's great exercise! I only take the bus if I'm going somewhere with my mom. Or I will take the bus there, like if I am trying on clothes and I want to smell fresh and clean, and then I walk home. - 5/31/2015 3:48:18 PM
  • Well I know my driving job stopped me from exercising and my weight went up 4 stone 56lbs.

    I now walk instead of taking the car but for shopping - 1/9/2015 4:44:40 AM
  • Very good article. As someone that lives in the suburbs, I'm amazed at the number of people who drive everywhere or that can't believe I prefer walking whenever I can. Our local Y is a mile from our house and once a week my boys take swim classes there, so if the weather allows, we always walk. When people hear that we walk a whole mile to the Y (and further home as we take a longer route), they can't believe we'd walk that far, through a residential area!!! They think 1 mile is too far to walk. And one other time we had some friends over for a picnic and one friend had forgotten something for the dish they brought and asked if there was a grocery store nearby. We have one 2 blocks away and sent him there on foot. He got home and said if he'd known it was that far, he would have driven! That far???? You can see the back of the store from our house! It just shocks me how "lazy" much of our society has become. I always try to walk when I can and at my job and when I do drive to stores to shop, I always park at the back end of the parking lot, I consider it free exercise. And if I have multiple stores in a shopping plaza to go to, I will park at one end and walk to each store (maybe run bags back to my car if I have something heavy or a lot of stuff). Walking for most people is free and easy, so we should walk when we can. - 6/13/2014 7:41:49 AM
  • This article was clearly written by someone who lives in the suburbs or urban areas. I live in the country in the Midwest. It is 5 miles to town on rough gravel roads and very curvy narrow highways w/o shoulders. That being said, I drive to town and then park near the back of parking lots to get some walking. I will also walk from store to store w/o using the SUV. Country life does provide one walking option that city life doesn't: the long walk to my mailbox (lol)! - 1/31/2014 11:05:22 AM
  • I live in and area that has a high rate of Pedestrian vs Car accidents, so walking can be scary. I ride my bike when ever I can, but a lot of drivers have "two wheel blindness". Basically, anything on the road with out four or more wheels does not get consideration. I do not own a car and use the bus, so I probably walk a little more that the ave person with a car. - 8/25/2013 2:20:21 PM
  • I walk a lot and I love it. I want to walk more....would love to live in a place where I could walk to the store or to the coffee shop or to work. I have walked the three miles home from the store once but the road has no sidewalk, no shoulder and lots of maniac drivers, so that probably won't happen again. - 8/14/2013 9:27:36 AM
  • I appreciate this article! We all need to get out more. One major realization I had was when I introduced worms to my preschoolers. I teach 100 of them in a garden each week and more than one exclaimed, "I've never seen these before!" They were so excited! Worms were a major part of the scenery of my childhood and I realized that these kids were being driven door-to-door, unable to experience the wonder of worms and the other natural beauties around us. - 1/20/2013 3:37:44 PM
  • I agree with Ms. Pratt's statement: "No matter where you live, you can park the car sometimes". The comments (re: people living in "war zones") reminded me of something emphasized in the book, "Super Freakonomics". The "Steves" wrote that walking drunk is even more dangerous than driving drunk (not that I advocate doing either, and if you're on SP, hopefully you're not drinking much alcohol, anyway. Too many calories). I was just thinking the other day that I'd like to walk to the gym that I'm planning on joining, but although it's not in Darfur, the road is very busy, has no shoulder and is curvy. Not a safe situation for anyone walking in my very friendly, mostly crime-free town. Just remember, as the "Steves" say, "Friends don't let friends walk drunk".

    : ) - 12/29/2012 4:45:49 AM
  • ELLDOCKE
    The comments are interesting but - I see a lady a little older than I am walking the sidewalkless roads I am surrounded by. The pounds have "melted" away and we all wave. I see that my work now has bike racks - because people brought them inside to keep them safe until the company responded. What kept me from walking more? I needed a raincoat for my rolling briefcase because it let water in where the handle came out. Guess what, wheels died from the walking I was doing. New rolling briefcase models come with a rainflap that zips shut. It really does depend on me, not on my environment. In this life, one thing we control - ourselves. One thing we can exert direct (physical) intervention on - our environment. One thing we can influence by the choices we make - each other. :) I have my own excuses, but that is what they are. Oh, and I own waterproof boots and shoes for walking in Oregon's proverbial unending rain. Don't take an umbrella because the wind steals it from me. How can you look your obstacles in the eye and make them into opportunities? Oh, and I pack healthy food that I can eat while at stoplights or by opening the package and taking handfuls without looking away from the road. My job can also cause me to drive 75-100 miles per day. Burgerville, McD's, KFC and Muchas Gracias are all easy alternatives without going out of my way. Now, all three of them post calorie and fat counts. Wow has that changed my choices! - 12/28/2012 10:11:02 AM
  • Great article! I grew up in a different generation and "world". We lived about 2 miles from town and 2 miles from church - no car - and we walked. I do know that the "world" is not as safe today as it was then. I could babysit, take my little charges to the movie and walk home after dark - and be perfectly safe!
    But, I think we do have far more opportunities to walk that we take advantage of - if we would just look for them.
    barb - 10/30/2012 2:53:55 PM
  • ALDEBARANIAN
    By The Way, that annoying guy in the work zone that you almost ran down because you were too busy trying to get to your gym so you could work out, that was me. Please put your agenda, cell phone, and self-absorption away, and pay attention to what's actually going on right in front of you, right now. Some of us are actually on our feet working. - 10/30/2012 2:23:42 PM
  • It's a good idea in theory but traffic is too dangerous. Crossing major intersections is like jumping off a cliff. We drive to parks and walk. Too dangerous for seniors to walk with no sidewalks. - 7/5/2012 7:17:19 AM

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