Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Walk, don't run

Since I never could run a mile as a school child, much less as a post-school child, I don't think this holds in my family. If my kids could run a mile, they could do so infinitely faster than I did.
On average, children today run a mile 90 seconds slower than did their counterparts 30 years ago, they said.


Across nations, cardiovascular endurance - gauged by how far children can run in a set time - has dwindled consistently by about 5% every decade, according to the findings.
The decline is seen in boys and girls and across all ages from nine to 17 years, and is linked to obesity, with some countries faring worse than others.
Lead researcher Dr Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia's School of Health Sciences said: "In fact, about 30% to 60% of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass."
The problem is largely one of Western countries, but some parts of Asia like South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong are also seeing this phenomenon.
Maybe the problem is with the task---why run a mile? Who needs to run a mile? Or run at all? Now walking is another matter altogether. (and I will spare you the story about how I had walked two miles each way to school every day---barefoot and uphill through snow.) Healthy people, people who avoid running induced injuries, can continue to perambulate throughout their lives. It's this peripatetic lifestyle that health and school authorities, as well as urban designers, should seek to encourage.

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