Membership Dues Are Free in the Gym of Life

Human beings are not built, physically, to sit in cubicles staring at computer screens all day. Strong Towns friend Jason Slaughter of the Not Just Bikes YouTube channel agrees. He says in his most recent video, “Being sedentary is unnatural for us and it brings a lot of health problems, problems that are easily avoidable with even a small amount of daily exercise.” 

Of course, a lot of people are NOT sedentary—especially in their work. I’ve had jobs where I took more than 10,000 or even 15,000 steps in a day: building things, commercial fishing, and teaching high school math, for example. Slaughter references a 2017 Stanford University study of smart phone activity for more than 700,000 people, which found that folks in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia walked less than 5,000 steps per day—the lowest in the developed world. 

In his most recent YouTube video, Slaughter asks why. 

It turns out, unsurprisingly, there is a direct link between the walkability of a place and how much people walk. The four developed countries referenced in the Stanford study are much less walkable than many other places in the developed world, so most people who live in them get much less exercise, as Slaughter explains in the “Gym of Life.”

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