Have you ever almost doored a cyclist (or almost been doored cycling)?
Dooring refers to when someone exiting a car opens their driver’s door directly into the path of the oncoming cyclist that they didn’t realize was there.
I saw this very short video this past weekend about a simple maneuver designed to easily reduce these sorts of at times even deadly accidents. It’s called “The Dutch Reach“, and despite the suggestive title, it’s totally safe for work.
An incredibly simple behaviour that could save a person’s life – it should be mandatory teaching in driver’s ed.
Of all the Departments of Health out there, I wouldn’t have expected this from New York City’s.
It’s a poster that they’re producing and promoting that’s meant to inspire stair climbing.
While there’s little doubt that stair climbing is good for you, telling people that doing so for 2 minutes per day will help to prevent weight gain dumbs down the purpose and benefits of exercise to calorie burning, and worse, infers exercise, even small bits of it (like 2 minutes of stair climbing), burns boatloads of calories.
And if you believe exercise burns boatloads of calories you may be more likely to struggle with weight, just as this study, Lay theories of obesity predict actual body mass, found when looking at people’s inherent beliefs around the root cause of weight gain.
The study went further to infer that believing exercise is the key driver of weight led to a greater consumption of chocolates in an experimental condition.
As far as the prevention of weight gain goes, one recent study concluded 60 minutes of daily exercise is required.
2 minutes of stair climbing? If we’re talking calories, that 2 minutes will see you burning a mere 20-30. 20-30 calories? That’s 2 potato chips worth (plain Ruffles).
Though they only lasted a single day, it wasn’t public cynicism over McDonald’s latest scheme to excuse eating there that sunk them, it was skin rashes that ended their Happy Meal provision of fitness trackers.
But I bet they’ll be back.
It’s great business for the food industry to state directly (like Coca-Cola’s Global Energy Balance briefly tried to) or indirectly that exercise excuses (or balances) a crappy diet.
Though exercise is the world’s best drug, as I’ve noted, it’s not a weight loss drug, and though exercise absolutely mitigates the risks of both weight and likely diet too, that McDonald’s believes fitness trackers to be a Happy Meal draw is worrisome.
It’s worrisome because McDonald’s belief that kids and their parents would see the activity trackers as both incentive and permission to eat there suggests that society is well and fully bought into the notion that exercise trumps diet.
So too does the much lauded scheme floated a few months ago that foods fronts-of-packages be festooned with “activity equivalent labeling“.
And this photo of an advertisement from a local community centre that I took just 2 days ago.
|“HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO! (We’ll help you work it off!)”|
Listen, for most of us (me included), life includes some junk food, but all this to say, I worry about the potential unintended consequences of continuing to dumb down exercise to calories burned as the one thing people today don’t need are more reasons to believe that they deserve a break today.