Reconsider Bottomless: Champagne and Walking

Back in the 1870s and 1880s, competitive walking was the craze. A six-day-walkathon — complete with brass bands, vendors selling roasted chestnuts and celebrities — where competitors would walk 100 miles a day.

Can you imagine the excitement of watching people walk? Okay, maybe not. While some of us find the title, “Champion Pedestrian of the World,” ridiculous, walkers who competed in these walking matches walked about 21 hours a day. In Matthew Algeo’s new book, Pedestrianism, Algeo notes that trainers would advise their pedestrians to drink a lot of champagne during the race since champagne was considered a stimulant.

Albeit competitive walking is no longer a spectacle, walking 15 minutes a day will help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood sugar levels as well as lower the risk of obesity and (type 2) diabetes.Taken into the account that USA tops the list, with a whopping 34% obesity rate, of the 10 fattest countries in the world [1], maybe it’s time for Americans to reconsider walking.

Obesity Statistic (global) image credit:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that 1 in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes, 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese and 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity. For adults ages 20 and older, a BMI above 25 is considered overweight, 30+ obesity and 40+ extreme obesity. Looking at the graphics below, you will see that 10 years ago, Americans weighed significantly less. In the span of 6 years, 13 states, including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, have became extremely obese.

CDC obesity graphic, USA 1994

CDC obesity graphic, USA 2010

[1] World Health Organization (WHO) report, 2013



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