A new report written by a handful of doctors titled Improving Health Care by Design concludes that in order to have a healthy populace we need cities designed for health. There is nothing startling in the report but it does provide one more reference and tool for people to use inspire positive change in their own communities.
The results: if we want healthy people, we need to build healthy communities. This means, the doctors suggest, that our communities need to made more conducive to walking, cycling, and public transit. The report concludes with calls for “major changes” in community design across the GTHA.
These are not perhaps particularly novel observations, few would argue that more opportunities for physical activity leads to better overall health. But the report, written as it was by doctors, adds leverage to these ideas by attempting to quantify more specifically, the health effects of good community planning.
Doctor Robert Zarr prescribes walking in parks to his patients. Regular readers already know that the exposure to nature is beneficial in multiple ways for our physical and mental health. Doctors have also taken note of this and realize that prescribing walks and exposure to nature can reduce obesity rates while also being proactive in stemming other health problems.
Zarr doesn’t think prescribing parks is a radical step, though it may require a little getting used to. “Once you get over the conceptual hurdle of prescribing park, and you believe the scientific literature that clearly says being outside is good for health, then all it takes is to push a button on a computer. They have to do that anyway,” he says.
Zarr now hopes to develop a mobile app, and perhaps get the “have you been outside recently?” question included in patients’ pre-interviews alongside other vital signs queries.
A small company has produced a boot that creates energy by walking. The boot has a battery that stores an electric charge from the energy spent by walking.
The ‘Power Wellies’, as Orange is calling them, convert heat from your feet into an electrical current. According to the blurb, twelve hours of stomping through the Glastonbury Festival will give you enough power to charge a mobile phone for one hour – the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce.
In case you’re wandering what the science behind them is… Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed of pairs of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are connected electrically forming an array of multiple thermocouples (thermopile). They are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side, from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated. Simples.
I’m having trouble thinking of a way to describe this, so I won’t. I present to you the Walking Tree Man.
What is it that can capture a heart and take it to a peaceful awareness instantly?
Many say, “A WALKING TREE MAN”.
The crowd is stunned. People, begin moving more slowly, breathing deeply. They seem to drop into that meditative state where weâ€™re connected with the true reality of life.
The walking body of a tree with the mask of a man is an image that can only inspire awe in the hearts and minds of those who see view it.
This archetype, of ancient origins signifies rebirth, renewal, and life, is the image of the GREEN MAN
He symbolizes our ineffable connection with Mother Nature.
Sometimes itâ€™s the kids who see whatâ€™s going on first. Then that brings on a frenzy of photo snapping and comments like, â€œThatâ€™s the best costume Iâ€™ve seen in my life!â€ â€œAbsolutely incredible!â€ â€œWow!â€ â€œAmazing!â€
Thanks to a newish invention your walking can now power all sorts of portable devices. There’s been similar devices that have been created but I haven’t mentioned them here in a while. It’s always good to see people turning what we do in something even more productive.
For the past 10 years Dr Max Donelan, from the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, has been working on ways to harness people power â€”- how to capture the energy generated when youâ€™re out for a stroll.
He succeeded and his Biomechanical Energy Harvester is featured in todayâ€™s edition of the academic journal Science.