Just days after a new national study showed, once again, that Americans are spending less and less time outdoors and more and more time behind computers, in front of televisions and bowed before their BlackBerrys, Colorado Springs shows that is has reversed that trend.
Men's Fitness magazine named it "fittest city in America" in its 10th annual competition. Its residents don't suffer from videophilia or nature deficit disorder at least not to the degree that other places (like Las Vegas, the most sluggish city on the magazine's list).
So how does the Colorado city do it?
Of course, it starts with stunning natural beauty, which inspires people to get outdoors. But culture and government are part of the equation, too.
According to The Gazette:
The magazine praised the city for the Trails, Opens Space and Parks tax which made places like Red Rock Canyon Open Space possible, easy access to the mountains, sunny weather and the population's zeal for taking advantage of them all. ...
The process for awarding the title is hardly scientific. It is based on a statistical survey of everything from weather patterns to traffic patterns and the abundance of open space to the abundance of fast food joints.
So there's the cultural piece: As more people get up and go, it creates a culture that builds a "Did you see/ did you do" mentality. That quickly leads the minds of the sluggish toward, "Why don't I give that a try."
And there's the government piece: A tax keeps people fit?
Well, sort of. Setting development rules, or setting aside cash, to make walkable communities keeps people on their feet (if there's a sidewalk to the corner store or the elementary school, you're more apt to use it). And setting aside exceptional open spaces preserves the inspiration to make people so that the inspiration piece is preserve.
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