Thursday, 16 June 2011

"Running Lanes" to end obesity

Doc: And in the future, we don't need horses. We have motorized carriages called automobiles. 

Saloon Old Timer #3: If everybody's got one of these auto-whatsits, does anybody walk or run anymore? 

Doc: Of course we run. But for recreation. For fun. 

Saloon Old Timer #3: Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?

-Doctor Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd) predicts “the future”, in Back to the Future Part III.

Have you ever been on the London Underground? As a passenger, if you are on the escalators you etiquette dictates you stand to the right. If you don’t, a rushing businessman will flatten you as he darts through, running for a crucial train. There is a system in London that segregates the fast from the slow.

Businessmen need this etiquette Londoners to get by. They would probably benefit from pavements and shopping centres running with this idea (pun intended). Rolling this out nationwide could speed up commerce considerably. But there’s another reason that running lanes could benefit society.

1 in 10 adults are obese in Britain. One of the best ways of burning fat is running.

We all know how to do it, but who has the motivation? People who are running out of time for something do. Those who are already in a gym, staring at a treadmill, tend to find it. Dedicated runners put the effort in. How can we broaden this out so that most people run?

When I inevitably become dictator of this country in about five years, and I begin to instil some logic in the UK, I will further the work done by cycle lanes- paint more green lines for cycling, and paint half the pavements- I dunno- purple, for runners. I’ll encourage businesses to install showers at their premises, for those who run to work. For short journeys to the shops etc, people will have more precious time, which they complain about not having. They’ll be beating congestion in cities. They will surprise themselves at how healthy they feel, and how little guilt they feel about the gym membership that they don’t use.

Turning up haggard and worn out, drenched in sweat, will prove to the employer that they ran in. Do this enough: get a tax break for reducing congestion.

This will begin to work for the country- health will improve, traffic jams will ebb down- until, of course, people realise that all the years of running has started to take its toll on their knees. Then they will all pile straight back into their cars and we all start back over again.

Hmm. What about cycling? Oh, wait, we’ve already tried this.

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