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Asian Urban Transit Aerobics



It seems that some societies have a natural tendency toward fitness incorporated into their daily urban environments. Let’s take a look at some of the way some Asian cultures with modern societies incorporate exercise into their daily urban routines, and also look at how this may differ from societies where obesity is apparently more of an issue. What may come as a surprise is how a couple of classic technologies can help to keep the citizens of a very modern city attractively fit and slim.

The bicycle is likely the first and foremost ubiquitous icon of urban fitness that one is likely to spot in an Asian city. It does a wonderful job of keeping the air clean while simultaneously providing relatively quick and convenient transportation through the city streets. It is one invention that has truly held its own through other advances in modern transportation technology. It requires no gas, no electricity, little maintenance, and is generally very affordable to the masses. Combine it with electric mass transit, and a city is humming with green, sustainable energy.

What the bicycle does for the one that powers it is truly remarkable. The body is nourished with healthy aerobic exercise and the rider feels invigorated with vibrant energy. It can be pure pleasure to cycle through the sunny city streets and can potentially even make the ride to work become a journey of discovery. One may chance upon a new shop or café that they had never seen before, and would likely not have seen if speeding past in a car or train. One may also chance upon an attractive new person to invite to the aforementioned café. While feeling so invigorated, it is easy to start the day and leap into the next task at hand. When arriving at their destination the rider may feel truly ready to continue their momentum and spring into action in a whole new way.

Next up is a spectacularly simple invention that once seemed to be practically irreplaceable. The staircase is still present in just about any building with 2 or more stories, but it seems that it is being hidden more and more. What may seem odd is that in some Asian cities, the train systems sometime offer no other easy way to access the train platform. Elevators are not always available and if escalators are present, they often only run in one direction. Even when there is an elevator available, they are usually small and generally only used by people with strollers or large luggage and so on. What all of this means is that people are actually using their bodies to walk up and down staircases which are often rather long. It may be surprising, but they are not generally winded and collapsing at the top, either. Let’s just say that this sort of daily exercise is gold for those who are seeking a firmer and smaller behind.

There are, obviously, other factors involved in these cities which contribute to the people staying fit. Combined with a greatly decreased intake of red meat so prevalently ingested in parts of the west, this daily integrated exercise goes a surprisingly long way to make a fit society.