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Want to Live Longer? Move to the City?

Filed Under: Men's Health at 9:29 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
City SkylineNew York City is loved for what it offers. Broadway, Little Italy, Soho, 5th Avenue, culture, diversity and, now, nine extra months. New Yorkers have a life expectancy of 78.6 years. The average American is expected to live only 77.9 years.  For many, that comes as a surprise. After all, despite the benefits, New York City is known to have a few factors that might cut a few lives short, homicide for instance. Well, the truth of the matter is homicide rates are down and New Yorkers, as a whole, are healthier than the rest of us. Why?

The answer, or part of it, lies in walking. New Yorkers walk. They don’t have a choice. Get into a car and you’re forced to fight the traffic, the cab drivers, the confusion and the pedestrians. So to save yourself a little bit of stress, you walk. Or maybe, you take public transportation. But how exactly do you get to the subway? You walk. And clamor up and down flights of stairs. No one gets anywhere in New York without stretching their legs. However, it’s not just the amount of walking but the pace as well that’s helping out New Yorkers. They’re fast. They race down the sidewalks, slowing down only when a confused tourist blocks their path, and that is giving them an extra year or two. 

So, now you know, but what are you going to do with the information? Should you start walking everywhere, as quickly as possible? For many, that’s impossible. Suburban and rural areas aren’t conducive to going by foot. Imagine attempting to walk to the grocery store when the nearest one is twenty minutes by car. Now, imagine walking back . . . with all of your groceries.  Not pretty, right? Let’s toss that idea out the window and consider a more plausible option: an active lifestyle. Exercise, go outside, take the stairs – do something. A sedentary life is a shorter life. You don’t have to move to the Big Apple to tack on nine more months; you can do it anywhere. So get moving. And the next time you visit New York, show up the locals; elbow one of them out of your way.

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