You may have already gathered my obsession for European living but take extra note on this post. Today I am going to give my 2 cents on suburban living versus city living in the states.
As a child, I grew up in the suburbs. I hated it. My house wasn't in a neighborhood and I didn't have any close houses to run and play at. Instead, I was a 10-15 minute car ride to a friends house or to school. The closest grocery store was probably a 15 minute walk... down the highway. I couldn't ride my bike anywhere besides my drive way and I couldn't walk to a local park. Life was good, just not as active as it should have been. I thrived on adventure and found myself exploring my backyard woods to entertain myself and friends. It worked for a while. Many years later I found myself living in Italy during the summer months and paying close attention to their healthier and active lifestyles. Europeans travel by foot/bike 33% of the time compared to us Americans, who travel by foot 9% of the time. They don't go to the gym, they don't eat low carb or diets in general, they all seem happier and seem to enjoy life more! What did I take away from this? Europeans live better and healthier than we do. So how does one live healthier in America? Believe it or not, WHERE you live in the states can ALSO impact your health.
I decided to move to the city of Chicago upon return from Italy. I have lived here for 4 years so far and love the lifestyle in Chicago way more than my suburban childhood years. Now you might want to know WHAT is so different from the city to the suburbs?
The suburbs are usually made up of small neighborhoods that lead to nowhere. They have cul-de-sacs that lead you in circles and get you nowhere, fast. Walking to the grocery store or walking to walgreens is usually not an option and therefore you must drive. Ever notices the difference in cars from the city to the suburbs? They almost double in size, double in gas mileage and make things worse for the environment. You most likely can't walk to school or the ice cream shop and you most certainly can't take public transportation and most of the time bike lanes aren't even a consideration. So what are you left with? Driving to point A and to point B. Walking as little as possible, increased chance of obesity, other health problems and a lack of movement.
I hadn't really taken note of how different my lifestyle was in Chicago until I compared it to a weekend visit with my family in the suburbs. We drove to dinner, drove to the movies, drove here and drove there. We never left the town and I felt like I went on a road trip! City living has changed my life because I can conveniently walk to walgreens, about 5 different markets/grocery stores, the train, the gym and so much more. Not to mention when we DO need to drive somewhere, we use a compact car that is better for the environment. If I had to guess, I'd say I am moving about 60% more (not including gym workouts) than I was when I lived with my parents.
I am not trying to knock the suburbs as they are my roots. I am just trying to open up our eyes on HOW you live and HOW it impacts your health. Little things day to day can help pave your path to a healthier and happier you. Try walking more, taking stairs, and getting some fresh air more often.
In good health,
Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.