The obesity epidemic in this country in not only due to the high consumption of processed foods and sugars, but also the lack of casual every day activity such as walking for shopping and entertainment. Americans see as the only way to be fit and healthy is to spend hours at the gym and obsessively watch their calories. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Culturally speaking, I understand it is not easy to simply tell someone to walk to the grocery store as opposed to driving. Most of our communities are not built as European neighborhoods. For instance, I have two grocery stores two blocks away from my house. Although it would make sense to walk there if you’re just picking up a few things, it’s very unlikely I will do that. Picking up a few things at the grocery store is usually a last minute thing; one you want to do as quickly as possible.
Realistically, unless you are within a couple of miles from work to walk there or feel relatively safe biking beyond that, I wouldn’t expect anyone to make any changes to their day to day commuting. However, a great way to increase physical activity while keeping a small carbon footprint is to incorporate walks and bike riding into your leisure activities.
Take time during the weekend or other off times to walk to your favorite park, restaurant, nightclub, coffee shop, or theater. Turn this into an adventure for your kids; believe me, if you frame it the right way they will be into it! Instead of driving to the park to walk your dogs, simply go on a long adventure walk through your neighborhoods. I’ve done this myself and it has made me discover areas of my town I’ve never seen!