Updates

How To Exercise Outside With Spring Allergies

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No doubt many of us are shooing off the last remnants of winter and rejoicing that (according to the calendar, at least) it's finally spring. Good riddance, bulky coats and stuffy gyms. Welcome, t-shirts and jogs outside, where it's lukewarm, flowery and full of people who are equally jazzed to be walking without shivering. Hallelujah.

But then -- behold, a familiar enemy.

"Now the sun is higher in the sky, you're craving exercise and all of a sudden, your spring allergies hit," says Lisa Lynn, a New York-based fitness trainer. "And it's gigantic. Now you have a new reason not to exercise, because the allergies make you feel exhausted, and some of the symptoms, like stuffy nose and irritated eyes, can be debilitating enough to make you not want to move.”

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In The 1870s And '80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But

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We may think of baseball as America's national pastime, but in the 1870s and 1880s there was another sports craze sweeping the nation: competitive walking. "Watching people walk was America's favorite spectator sport," Matthew Algeo says in his new book, Pedestrianism.

"In the decades after the Civil War there was mass urbanization in the United States [with] millions of people moving into the cities," Algeo tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "And there wasn't much for them to do in their free time, so pedestrianism — competitive walking matches — filled a void for people. It became quite popular quite quickly."

Huge crowds packed indoor arenas to watch the best walkers walk. Think of it as a six-day NASCAR race ... on feet.

"These guys were walking 600 miles in six days," Alego says. "They were on the track almost continuously. They'd have little cots set up inside the track where they would nap a total of maybe three hours a day. But generally, for 21 hours a day, they were in motion walking around the track."

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Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report

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In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Community Design Initiative, the Alliance for Biking and Walking publishes the biennial Benchmarking Report to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities. The Report combines original research with over 20 government data sources to compile data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts. It's an essential go-to resource for public officials, advocates, decisionmakers, and researchers.

For a sneak peek, check out four of the most fascinating facts from the report below.

1. We're seeing small but steady increases in the number of people biking and walking to work.

The average large American city experienced a 5.9% increase in population from 2000 to 2010 without comparable increases in land mass, and budgets are tight across the board. Both of these factors point to a need to find cost-effective modes of transportation that move people without taking up more space.

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Walk The Talk

Experts
Our trusted experts explore ways and offer tips to incorporate walking into your daily life.
Community
Groups across America, of all ages and abilities, are finding a new sense of community by walking.
Health
Just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week, is enough to improve your overall health.
Inspiration
Walking is also good for mind and soul, sparking your creativity and inspiration.