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A path to better health

Mel Kohn, M.D., Public Health Division director
Mel Kohn, M.D., Public Health Division director started biking to work in New York City during the 1980s.

"I thought of that while riding my bicycle." ~ Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity

Mel Kohn, M.D., Public Health Division director, says that the moment he gets on his bicycle, his head clears, his muscles loosen, and his lungs expand in relief. He’s started each morning like that since he began biking to work in the 1980s.

"It's just a wonderful way to start the day and a wonderful way to end it," he says.

Last week, students celebrated bike and walk to school day. The Oregon Health Authority is encouraging its employees to join the fun.

There are numerous benefits from biking or walking to work. For starters, it's economical. Riding your bike to work can save hundreds of dollars in gas and car maintenance. It's also healthy, both for your mind and your body. Studies show that an average person will lose 13 pounds in their first year of riding to work. Plus, if you are like a lot of us and your job involves sitting at a desk for hours each day, it feels good to get a little exercise on your way to work and back.

Mark Tinsley, who works in the Human Services Building for the Office of Information Services (OIS), says that walking to work is a conscious health decision he made a long time ago: "It's a part of my personal plan to be strong and healthy in the second half of my life."

Adding even a little bit of physical activity each day is a great way to help improve your health. Increasing physical activity is one of the best forms of prevention, which means reducing the risk of health issues and saving on health care costs later in life.

For some people, biking or walking to work is all about the health benefits. For others, it's about lowering your carbon footprint. And some enjoy saving money on gas and car maintenance. Whatever compels you to leave your car at home and hit the pavement, share your story this month with your fellow co-workers. And if you've ever thought about trying it, this is your month to give it a shot. You might even find you like it! It is, after all, a cheap, healthy, and wonderful way to start and end your work day.

For tips on getting started, visit the Public Health Division's biking to work and physical activity pages.