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Benefits of biking for health


August 24. 2013 8:24PM
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We are not very healthy. Statistically speaking, of course.



Among us, there are those who are the very picture of health. They eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise at least 30 minutes each day, and steer clear of the things we no contribute to early death and illness, such as tobacco use.



Those people are out here, but in Allen County, they are a minority. Right now, more than 77 percent of Allen County adults are overweight or obese. That compares to 67 percent just a decade ago. More than 27 percent of those of us over the age of 20 say we get absolutely no leisure time physical activity. And 22 percent of Allen County adults still smoke, compared to a national benchmark of 13 percent.



All those figures landed Allen County the ranking of 83 out of Ohioís 88 counties for health behaviors.



And thatís where we come in.



Activate Allen County is a public health initiative focusing on building capacity for healthy eating, active living and tobacco-free living in Allen County. It is funded by a Small Communities Transformation Grant through the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Part of that process is helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice for Allen County residents. To that end, we will be right here every Monday, in your newspaper, on your TV and radio, and on your Facebook and Twitter, offering up simple and doable tips for improving health habits.



This week, we want to talk about how to make your commute healthy and enjoyable. While we realize walking or biking to work is not feasible for all of us, we also know there are great advantages for those who can. Bicycling can help you live longer and better. Adults who bike to work have better weight, blood pressure and insulin levels. Women who bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.



So this week, take the first step, literally, and calculate just how far it is to work. Make out a map of the best, safe route for you. And to help keep track of your trip, download fun apps to your cellphone such as mapmyride.com or mapmywalk.com. Both can be found at www.mapmyride.com.





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