People who walk, bike, or run to work have lower BMIs or body fat than people who drive, according to a new study published from the journal BMJ. And while that seems like a pretty obvious research finding to report on, what was more interesting was that people who rely on public transportation–bus, train, subway–also had healthier body compositions. According to the study authors, the weight difference for women was 0.7 percent, or 5.5 pounds less than those who got behind the wheel.
If you’ve been searching for ways to fit in more fitness, your commute holds a lot of opportunities. Here are a few:
Ditch the Car: This is probably the most obvious start, but a good place to begin. Instead of driving your car, take your bike, or if you live close enough, walk or run it in. Start with skipping the car once a week, and work your way up the more comfortable you become. Look for different routes you can take, and whenever possible, stay on safe bike and running paths to avoid interactions with vehicle traffic.
Crowd Commute: Using public transportation is a great alternative when biking or on-foot travel is just out of reach. Sure, you’re still getting transported the way you would in a car, but it requires you to walk to and from a bus stop or rail station. If you live in a busy enough area, your commute might also require you to stand for the ride when no seats are available. The extra non-body benefit is cost savings for you!
Combo Commute: Pair up up public transportation with your self-propelled modes whenever possible. Many city buses are now equipped to carry bikes. Get off at earlier stops so that you have the opportunity to pedal in, while still being able to clock-in on time. If your work doesn’t have shower facilities, bus into work in the morning, and then bike home at the end of the day when you don’t need to worry about how your sweaty aroma might affect your co-workers.
Park and Move: If you rely on your car to drop off the baby with the sitter and run errands on your way home, drive to a public parking lot that is somewhat close to work, but still gives you room to move. Running and walking are good options, but keep it interesting by switching out your sneakers for rollerblades or a skateboard on occasion. Trying to train for a 5k, 10k, or mini marathon? Map out parking lots that are specific distances from your job. Spread out the distance the more comfortable you become.
Car Locked: If you just can’t give up your car, all hope is not lost. Look for ways to work in more movement by simply parking in the back of the lot instead of the front. If you work in a big building or a campus of building, select an entrance that requires you to climb stairs and walk further to get to your desk.
Unless you have an uber cool standing or treadmill workstation, you have a long day of sitting ahead of you when you arrive at your job. Use your commute to get to work and stay in shape, and you’ll likely handle a stressful day with in a better way.
How do you get to work? Share with us in the comments?