When Healthier Living Studies Miss The Point


As a person who is sort of trying to live a healthier lifestyle, I am always interested when I see reports of efforts to make things easier.  Unfortunately, not all these efforts seem to realise where I live.

How many times have you seen reports of Government or NHS studies into how much healthier we would all be if we all did one small thing differently?  We are enthused to be able to make that single change that can make such a difference.  Then we read about it.

The headline I saw today which prompted this post is “Walkable cities reduce blood pressure and hypertension risk, study finds.”  There is a lovely picture along with the headline of people sitting out at tables in the street in the sunshine.  There is one underlying problem with the premise of having me walk about more, I LIVE IN SCOTLAND – WE GET SNOW AND RAIN!

How often have you seen reports saying that we should be using our bikes?  London is changing full lanes of roads into cycle lanes due to the increase in cyclists.  If we cycled to work here, half the time we would arrive soaked to the skin and possibly suffering from hypothermia.

A walkable city would for one thing need to have level pavements for walking on, wouldn’t you think?  That may be a bit of an ask from our Local Authority who cannot seem to manage the bevelled pavements they have at the moment.  I personally am not keen on walking on the sides of my feet which seems to be the default in this area.

Granted we have beautiful countryside to walk in which is pretty much on our doorstep.  Fantastic in the dry weather, mud trap the rest of the time.  Brushing past the foliage, feeling like some Jane Austen heroine seems great, until it rains, then you end up wet from the waist down within minutes.  More Bridget Jones than Elizabeth Bennet.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I need to be more active, but even the simple action of getting off the bus a stop earlier can make the difference between arriving gracefully or arriving looking like a drowned rat that got dragged backwards through a hedge by the cat.  Yes I do have some rather good wet weather gear and no it is not suitable to arrive places looking like Nanuk of the North with my feet and trousers soaking, shivering and unable to hold a pen.

A choice has to be made, I can either get out and walk more in which case if the weather is bad I am coming home to comfort food consisting mainly of pasta and cheese.  Or I can eat healthily with light, low heart attack ratio food and go outside when it is not liable to soak or freeze me.


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