Ithaca Blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cars Versus A Long, Healthy Life

In the Ithaca Blog archives, you can find a series we did on the benefits of lessening dependency on the automobile.

Saving money is the most obvious, in the age of the $3.00 gallon (it will be higher after Election Day).

Another is lessening the greenhouse effect and global warming, which are primarily caused by the countless tons of carbon dioxide produced by burning gasoline.

Another is reducing emissions from automobile tailpipes, which increase the incidence of lung cancer, leukemia, asthma, and other ailments. Automobiles are the source of 60 - 70% of urban air pollution.

And now, a new study by the National Institute on Aging suggests that the main cause of frailty that robs the elderly of their vitality, and even their lives, is a lack of simple exercise, such as walking a quarter-mile a day.

The science is somewhat complicated, though it is well presented in an article in today's New York Times, "Old But Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head".

Check the Times for all the details. But suffice it to say that the old advice is well-heeded: walk your dog twice a day, even if you don't have a dog. And new, related advice might well be: lose the car keys, even when you know where they are.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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