By CRAIG MEDRED
What if one of the side effects of the SARS-Co-V-2 pandemic was to make some people healthier?
Crazy as it sounds, there is some reason to believe this could be happening. The BBC has fingered COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, as “driving a revolution in travel,” and it’s not to jump on airplanes to see the world.
The English are increasingly getting around on foot or by bicycle. This shift to what is called “active travel” to shops, businesses and jobs has significant health benefits as the BMJ journal has pointed out.
“Up to 90 percent of active commuters walking or cycling have been shown to meet the minimum physical activity guidelines, with evidence of a consequential lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality, all-cause mortality and cancer outcomes,” the editors of the medical journal reported. “Oher benefits include environmental change and improvements in mood and self-esteem.”
And it would appear the English are not the only people that COVID-19 has inspired to get up, get out and get moving.
Strava, the leading sports platform for athletes of all sorts, reports activity uploads to its website jumped 33 percent in 2020. The data for Anchorage shows a cycling boom started in the 49th state’s largest city shortly after the pandemic began.
The start of the jump was likely tied to the Alaska lockdown coming at a time when snow and ice conditions were near ideal for fat-tire rides to the summer inaccessible Knik, Skookum and Spencer glaciers near Anchorage.
The boom didn’t end with the arrival of summer, however. As in the rest of the country, activity remained elevated.
Overall, Strava’s Year in Sport 2020 reported athletic activity in the U.S. up 28 percent above what was expected for March and April, and the boom continued through the summer here and in most countries where people were allowed out of their homes.
“At the global level, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a rise of activity on Strava like we’ve never seen before, far surpassing our normal projections,” the company said.
The health benefits of this change cannot be ignored.
Along with providing some protection against COVID-19 – healthy people have much better chances of surviving the disease than those suffering so-called “comorbidities” – an active lifestyle reduces the odds for all forms of death and cuts U.S. economic costs by billions.
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