Photo by Chris Jordan

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Interviews with American Idle Author Mary Collins

In 2000, a typical bicycle ride for Mary Collins turned into a life changing event.  While riding around Alexandria, Virginia Ms. Collins got into a bicycle crash that put her into a coma for two days.  When Ms. Collins came to she did not have any memory of the events that transpired after the crash.  After back surgery was performed on several ruptured disks Ms. Collins began a rehabilitation process that severally limited her mobility.  For a former varsity college athlete, avid basketball player, and runner this new idle life was daunting.  While Ms. Collins regained full feeling and motion to her back it was the rehabilitation experience that prompted her to began researching why so many American’s live such immobile lives. 
From her research, Ms. Collins wrote the book American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture.  Her book examines the inactive lifestyle of Americans and its effect on our physical and mental health.  What follows is a collection of stories from Ms. Collins about her interviews with Americans of all types from all over the country.  Whether it’s a conversation with the Director of Sports Science at the United States Olympic Center in Colorado Springs or a visit with assembly line workers at the Utz Potato Chip Factory in Hanover, Pennsylvania, Ms. Collins is able to piece together the stories that show Americans are misusing their bodies.

To learn more about Ms. Collins and her groundbreaking book, check out the video link below for brief interview on Fox 61’s “Stan Sampson Show”.  For a more in depth conversation on the book American Idle, check out the radio link below for an interview on the “Where We Live” show hosted by John Dankosky from Connecticut Public Radio.   This interview delves further into the topics covered in the book. What ensues is a rousing discussion on the American obesity epidemic and how the status quo promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. Even high school team sports are brought into question as the author examines misconceptions about physical fitness.

To get a copy of American Idle visit the National Center for Bicycling & Walking website at and click on the image of the American Idle book cover in the right margin. 

Video:  Stan Sampson Show
Run Time:  8 minutes and 11 seconds
Aired:  October 31, 2009

Radio:  Where We Live
Run Time:  49 minutes and 1 second
Aired:  October 14, 2009