Society / Health & Science
Tuesday, 15 Nov 2016 16:13 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
A visiting academic from America who came to the United States International University in Nairobi (USIU-Africa) recently was dumbfounded that so many students at the college prefer to use boda boda (motorcycle taxis) and vans instead of walking for the short distance from Thika Road to the college’s main entry gate.
The academic shared with colleagues the concern that only a small number of students walk the less than a mile distance from Thika Road to the USIA-Africa campus, while the vast majority prefer to take boda bodas and vans. “In the United States, people prefer to walk short distances, more so if they would have to pay for distances they can easily cover on foot. The exceptions are during periods of extreme weather,” the academic told colleagues.
The academic felt that there was a general overreliance on motorized transport, which costs the students money for a distance they would more beneficially cover on foot. Walking, in particular for students, has been proven to improve mental alertness, counteracting the effects of weight-promoting genes, curbing the craving for chocolates among other benefits. Walking also helps reduce the risk of women developing breast cancer.
In America and much of the West where motorized transport is more efficient and affordable, health experts are increasingly promoting the benefits of walking. The director of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Dr Thomas Frieden has called walking “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug”.
So, if the USIU students worry less about their pockets, they should at least pay more attention to their health.