When I lived in New York City I walked everywhere, and all the time. It wasn’t just because driving there is insane and I didn’t have a car anyway. The city calls you forth. In decent weather you can walk for miles and hardly be aware of it. As a walker I was not alone. New York is a city of them. On visits upstate I’d see a great many hefty people. At malls I’d get stuck in aisles behind matching double-wides. In the city there wasn’t much of that.
People often think of New York as a decadent and unhealthful place. I began to wonder if in fact the opposite was true. I made some calls but couldn’t get anywhere. This was about fifteen years ago. Apparently, some researchers have been on the case in the years since. The current (August 15th) issue of New York magazine has a feature story called “Why New Yorkers Last Longer.” Residents there, it turns out, live on average nine months longer than Americans do generally. Their life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate. Walking is a major reason why.