16 March 2008

Exercise and Intensity - Why waste time?

I'm going to let science daily do the talking for me:


08 March 2008

Dear Mr Prime Minister...

If Given the opportunity to speak with Herr Rudd about some serious problems we face today... this is what I, as a pro-cyclist/possibly hippy, would say:

I'll be blunt here. The world at large faces great potential problems in relation to a lack of concern for our environment and all the potential problems which will occur if global warming continues down its spiraling path. At the same time our country, among other developed countries, faces a growing problem in the form of the obesity epidemic. Obesity causes a range of problems from the distinctly physical such as diabetes, to the more psychological, such as hormonal imbalances leading to many problems such as depression. It’s been statistically proven that obese people are far less productive at work than their healthier counterparts and honestly is this such a surprise?

My proposal is simple, and helps to address both problems; the general health of our citizens as well as our environment. I feel strongly that we should further encourage cycling as a form of transport. Cycling will mean that there are less people in cars, resulting in less pollution. It will also lead to a healthier population who were less likely to be obese, depressed or suffer from common problems related to a lack of exercise.

Just think of the potential benefits that cycling can bring! People would be more productive and most likely more content. The environment would be all the better off and it would probably also lead to a change in how society thinks. Cycling promotes a more sustainable way of life in general, with the basic notion being that you yourself are creating the energy needed to get around. Cycling as a way of commuting allows individuals to feel that they are doing something positive for their bodies, their wallets and their environment, all while going from point A to point B.

I suppose the big question we have to ask is, so how do we encourage cycling? Well, despite Australia as a whole having desirable weather for cyclists we really do seem to lack cyclist friendly infrastructure. More bicycle lanes, more facilities for cyclists to use such as places to change in and more bicycle racks will all help to make a difference. Indeed I know that the government in countries like the UK are now paying people to lose weight. This is ridiculous. Think how much better that money could be employed by encouraging cycling and promoting awareness of it as a better alternative to driving.

Indeed instead of paying people to lose weight, maybe they should subsidise people who ride bikes. I believe the Chinese government does. Raising awareness about cycling and cyclists and the good they are doing for themselves and everyone else by helping the environment should also be stressed. The solutions I have proposed have been rather simple, but generally speaking I think that simple solutions often work more effectively than complex ones. By making cycling easier to do through creating more cyclist friendly infrastructure (most importantly cycle lanes) more people will be encouraged to take up cycling as a form of transport, which in turn will help spread the idea of cycling as a viable form of transport and make it more acceptable within our society.

I’ve given you a way to tackle serious environmental and health problems all while empowering the people of Australia and encouraging positive change. The question now is, will you take this idea and run with it?

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