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Active Commuting Has Many Benefits

This stencil by Peter Drew, an Australia-based street artist, pulls no punches. An active commute does make it easier to manage your weight. It can also improve your quality of life in general — and, independently, a car commute can reduce your happiness. When drivers decided to switch to walking to work, they tended to experience a significant boost in morale.

Some of us really don’t have the option of active commuting, whether because of sheer distances, poor public transit availability, or sometimes even safety issues along the route. If you live reasonably close to work or school, however, an active commute can help you:
— sit less, a big advantage if you have a desk job
— get your CDC basics of physical activity during the week
— reduce stress on the way to and from work
— save money on car maintenance and gasoline

And that’s not even counting the benefits for the environment.

What Counts?

An active commute includes walking, bicycling, or using public transit. Although public transit is less active, most people will do some walking to and from the transit itself — you can easily get a couple of 10-minute walks a day with a public-transit commute, especially if you use tips like getting off a stop or two early and walking the rest of the way.

The Government of Alberta has published a nice introduction to bicycle commuting. Although it is written with Canadian weather and laws in mind, US laws regarding bicycles are fairly similar, and if you heed the Canadian equipment recommendations, you’re ready for most of what the US’s weather can throw at you!

Every Day?

You may have a job that differs a bit day to day, with early start or late end times. Or you may live somewhere with pretty wretched winters or late summers. Don’t feel like it’s an all-or-nothing deal — part-time active commuting is better than full-time driving!

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