I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?
Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!
While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events.
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Last week Shape.com ran an article that had me laughing out loud at my computer. It was basically a “Sure Signs You’re Over 30” story for fitness junkies and the assessment was spot-on. They wrote about how us older gals may be up at 5AM, but it’s to head out on a run, not to stumble home from a big night out. Or how massages are now a part of our maintenance routines, not just an occasional indulgence.
The article was truly amazing and a must-read for anyone who’s still going strong after the big 3-0. In fact, I couldn’t help but be inspired to think of my own amended version last night while in my favorite indoor cycling class. With the lights out and the music thumping I thought back to those fun nights 10+ years ago, which in no way resemble my “Game of Thrones” fueled evenings now.
Those were the days! But boy am I glad they’re over. At any rate, without further ado, here are 6 things that never change, whether you’re a dance club kid or an indoor cycling class queen!
- In cycling class you still worry about what your butt looks like. Only now you’re wearing padded shorts which, let’s face it, don’t really flatter any figure.
- You still spill your drink on yourself on the bike. Only this time it’s water dribbling down your chin and onto your spandex top, not vodka red bull. Way less sticky!
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There are a lot of things I don’t miss about New York City: The crowds, the noise, the smells, the expense. But there are a few things I do miss after living there for 10 years. While my friends rank high on that list, so do bagels.
In the morning, few things beat a boiled-to-perfection bagel. Glossy on the outside and chewy on the inside, these carb-tastic treats were a mainstay of my life in the city. When I went back for a visit this past week, my former local bagel shop was one of my first stops. I got a whole wheat bagel heaping with strawberry cream cheese. (In New York a “schmear” is more of a gob than a dab.) It was, not surprisingly, delicious.
It was also a total gut bomb. Full of sugars and carbs the breakfast didn’t feel light in my stomach and pretty much zapped my energy for the next hour or so. (Hello food coma!) This tastes-so-good, feels-so-bad treat also came at a high caloric cost. 450 calories, to be exact.
So how could I burn off the 450 calories in this bagel with cream cheese?
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Have you ever been attracted to someone who’s a super talented athlete, but not necessarily model-material? What about the opposite: Have you “known” that someone would be good at a sport based on how good looking they are?
The first phenomenon is known as “speed goggles”, or seeing fast athletes as more attractive than slow ones, and chances are we’ve all done it. (No wonder A-Rod was able to hook up with screen siren Cameron Diaz!) But what about the reverse? The idea that someone will perform better in athletic competition if they are generally regarded as beautiful or handsome. Have you thought this, and does the theory hold up?
A study performed at the University of Zurich put this idea to the test: Researchers asked participants in the study to look at portraits of cyclists competing in the 2012 Tour de France days before the start of the race. They ranked each athlete on a scale of 1 to 5, based on level of attractiveness.
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Every sport has its own built-in factions: If you’re a runner do you wear minimal shoes or full-support ones? If you do yoga, do you like traditional yoga or hot yoga? When I started cycling I was pretty surprised to find that the point of division was whether or not your wore a helmet.
“Who doesn’t wear a helmet?” was my initial thought when I saw fellow cyclists pedaling without any protection on their heads. Hadn’t they seen the stats showing that helmet save lives? I’m squarely in the helmet-wearing camp, using science (and common sense) to back-up my position. Because of that, I continue to be surprised that people on the no-helmet side of the argument also use science to support their claims. But it shouldn’t be too unexpected: The interesting thing with numbers is that you can spin them to support just about anything you want. (For a good example, see this tongue-in-cheek article on why seat belts and child restraints are hazardous.)
But back to bicycling. Yesterday, via Facebook, I was directed to yet another anti-helmet argument, this one written by a student at Yale. He had all sorts of supporting documents, pie charts, etc., that claimed to show: A.) that cycling is less dangerous than walking down the street, among other things; and B.) that helmets may actually be harmful.
I read the piece. Then I checked his math. And he was spinning the statistics to make his case. Here’s the beginning, and cornerstone, of his argument:
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