The Happiness Factor

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Holland

Having just returned from Amsterdam and its fabulous biking culture, in addition to my preoccupation with health and well-being, I was interested in finding out the recipient of the worlds healthiest city for 2014. Low and behold, another biking community, Copenhagen, Denmark was once again crowned the winner. It was also named the official European Green Capital in 2014, boosting an abundance of environmentally friendly hotels, restaurants and public venues. Although I have not yet been to Copenhagen, Im feeling compiled to check it out, for research purposes.

With a strong focus on sustainability, the leaders of Copenhagen are doing all they can for its residents to promote a healthy lifestyle, including reducing air pollution and providing access to preventative medicine, parks and green space, nutritious food, and public transportation. Sounds like my kind of town.

The city has about 250 miles of biking lanes available, and half of all commuters use them for getting to work or school. Another innovative plus for Copenhagen? Just two percent of its population work 40 hours a week or more. That combined with flexible work hours allows its residents to spend more time with family, participate in sports, and volunteer in community programs. This just keeps getting better.

If however, like me, your community isnt on par with the healthy attributes of Copenhagen, or even Amsterdam, make the most of what you have:

1. Be a locavore. Shop whatever local fresh food markets and farmers markets you have in your area. Find out which restaurants utilize local produce on their menus.

2. Bike or walk whenever or wherever possible. Although you may not have the extensive bike paths of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, if you have safe roads to ride on, use them.

Don Hiles rides his bicycle to work through the fresh snow and a cold wind in Champaign, Ill., on Tuesday Jan. 21, 2014. Hiles said he tries to ride his bike to and from work every day. "I had to walk one day so far this year", said Hiles. A storm that pushed through the region late Monday and early Tuesday forced school cancellations and made commutes treacherous throughout Illinois. (AP Photo/News-Gazette, John Dixon) MANDATORY CREDIT JOHN DIXON — AP

Don Hiles rides his bicycle to work through the fresh snow and a cold wind in Champaign, Ill., on Tuesday Jan. 21, 2014. Hiles said he tries to ride his bike to and from work every day. I had to walk one day so far this year, said Hiles. A storm that pushed through the region late Monday and early Tuesday forced school cancellations and made commutes treacherous throughout Illinois. (AP Photo/News-Gazette, John Dixon) MANDATORY CREDIT JOHN DIXON — AP

3. Garden in good weather, shovel in bad weather, rake leaves in perfect weather. The key to health doesnt have to mean heading to the gym, exercise class, or running a marathon.(Unless you want to) The best way to enjoy a lifetime of health is to keep moving, everyday, most of the day, for your entire life. Movement of all kinds will do: walking the dog, climbing the stairs, mowing the lawn, spreading your own mulch, scrubbing the floor, and yes, for me on this day of the big Northeast snowstorm of 2015, shoveling snow.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply