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Thanks to our generous donors, Active Trans is able to carry out our important work throughout the Chicago region.

Working out shouldn't be work

The New York Times claims that high-end health club memberships are falling faster than a stack of weight-machine plates after your last rep.

Customers are abandoning the pricy amenities of “kitchen sink” gyms in favor of bare-bones facilities that charge far less membership fees and offer classes separately. According to The Times, only a sixth of members partake in fitness classes, while the majority is only looking to hop on a treadmill and plug into the iPod. Blame the recession and increasing disassociation in our society, say the experts.

Active Trans feels things maybe aren’t so bleak.

Major cities US cities have experienced a tripling of cycling rates in the last two decades, states the American Journal of Public Health in a recent study. Obesity and type 2 diabetes rates in these locales have plummeted to more than 20 percent below cities with less active transportation, including walking to transit.

The average transit user walks an average of 19 minutes a day, or 95 minutes per work week. That means nearly two-thirds of the CDC’s recommended 150 minutes a week are met simply by going to work.

Could it simply be that the increasing numbers of active commuters don’t need gym-time to counteract all the hours no longer spent in their car? Biking and walking to work frees us from car-dependence in more ways than just the direct costs of gas, maintenance, and insurance. Active transportation, in a way, takes us back in time, before exercise was such a loaded word. Body movement again becomes part of our very existence, like breathing and eating, rather than a separate thing that needs to be compartmentalized.

Let us know with a comment if your own car-free commuting has affected your gym membership.

And if you’re waiting for warmer and longer days to begin bike commuting, keep watching the Active Trans Bike to Work Week space for updates on this year’s events.
 

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