why new yorkers last longer

great [long] article from new york magazine on how and why new yorkers’ life expectancy has surpassed that of rural and suburban dwellers.

the obvious answer: you have to walk more in new york. around here, you have to get out of your car and off your ass. i, proudly, don’t even own a car.

but buried within this obvious answer are some surprising fine points. for instance, these:

“Walking speed absolutely reflects health status”…New York is literally designed to force people to walk, to climb stairs—and to do it quickly.

A 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that people living in buildings built before 1973 were significantly more likely to walk one-mile distances than those living in areas with newer architecture—because their environments were less architecturally ugly.

Interestingly, urban theorists believe it is not just the tightly packed nature of the city but also its social and economic density that has life-giving properties. When you’re jammed, sardinelike, up against your neighbors, it’s not hard to find a community of people who support you—friends or ethnic peers—and this strongly correlates with better health and a longer life.

i won’t ruin the whole article by quoting the entire thing. it’s well worth a few minutes of your time to read it.

preferably while walking somewhere, after having printed it out.