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Earth Day may be over, but if you’re anything like me, you’re still basking in the afterglow, looking for ways to improve the health of both the planet and yourself. Well, check this little gem: A British study suggests that for every minute you walk, you add three minutes to your lifetime. That’s a pretty fantastic rate of return on a relatively minimal investment.
But how best to walk harder? Modern civilization makes it so easy to just jump into your car — even for trips that are technically walking-distance. But if you’re moving soon, you could start by picking the right neighborhood: Environmental researcher Alan Durning created Walk Score, an interactive tool that calculates the walkability of your neighborhood based on measuring how many goods, services, entertainment options, and other amenities lie within walking distance of your potential abode. Usually, neighborhoods described as having high population density get a bad rap, but Walk Score shows that these neighborhoods can also result in better health, a reduction in greenhouse gases, more social interactivity, and stronger local businesses.
So how do the BACKPACKER offices in Boulder fare? We scored a decent-but-could-be-better 52 out of 100. Lucky for me, my downtown Denver neighborhood scores a whopping 94 out of 100. Looks like as long as I keep legging it in my nabe, I could be around for quite a long time. — Ted Alvarez