We know the basic reasons that cycling or walking to work can benefit you, like lower cholesterol levels, saving the environment and being able to fit into your skinny jeans. But old habits die hard and for many the idea of including exercise into the commute sounds inconvenient, late-making and sweaty. Yet these downsides (which are often quite avoidable – something we’ll talk about a future post) are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of benefits you get out of that short bit of exercise – and they’re not all what you think. Read on…
- Fall in love a little bit more with your music
It’s one of the best feelings around – rediscovering a song you used to love and play all the time years ago. Sadly, a lot of us get into a rut with our tunes. A short walk or cycle gives you the opportunity to really frame your work day in a positive way with music that speaks a can-do, sunny attitude to you and gets you grooving. Those endorphins, plus the ones from the exercise, will most defs help with a day in the office.
- Fall in love a little bit more with your city
Let’s face it, sitting behind a steering wheel, you’re not going to really be taking in the scenery – and if you are I certainly don’t want to be behind you in traffic. Walking and even to an extent cycling allows you to be more connected to your surroundings in the best possible way. It also means more sunshine early in the morning, which means more of the hormone tryptamine in your system, telling you it’s time to wake up for the day.
3. Upskill yourself
You can even educate yourself while you’re cycling or stepping to the workplace. With podcasts, online courses, YouTube and more, the 21st century is a great place to learn on the go. Check out Stephen Duneier who learned German during a 30-minute walk to work every morning. You could even do a course that would put you in line for a promotion. Nice.
4. Be a little emotionally healthier
When you’re ready to part with the earphones, being alone with just your thoughts and the meditative repetition of your steps can do wonders for your inner life. Processing emotions, learning to be still and to like your own company are all things that can greatly enrich your emotional health and are things that can come with a good walk. It’s even a great way to turn a frown upside down on bad days before you get into the office.
5. Solve problems
… You can even be productive work-wise while walking or cycling. If you have some office hurdle or puzzle that you just can’t work out, try keeping it in the back of your mind as you try and have a peaceful walk, then bring it up after a calming kilometre or so. Studies have shown that many people given creative thinking tests such as the processing required to solve complex problems perform better while they were walking versus the ones sitting still.
6. Have way less stress
Exercise in general is good for de-stressing, but we’re not even talking about that. A significant amount of the toxic way we process negative scenarios actually comes from driving – effectively, we’re putting ourselves in an artificial, unnatural little bubble where we are disconnected from the world and any unhealthy responses, like shouting and swearing our heads off upon any minor misdemeanour, has zero consequences. And shouting or the like shoots things like cortisol and adrenaline levels through the roof – a thing that is incredibly dangerous to the body if a daily or even weekly regularity. But do you ever see pedestrians who bump into each other effing and blinding the way drivers do? No. There’s a reason for that.
7. Save money
There are numerous ways in which walking to and from the office especially can save you cash. Things like petrol, taxi fare and train ticket purchases add up faster than you would believe and (if you have a garage at home and live in a not-too-dodgy area) you can even decrease your monthly car insurance payments. What’s more, if you’re someone who pays for a gym every month with the express reason of losing weight, well, you can write off that expense too. Research has found trimmer waists and lowers BMI’s on daily walkers than participants in any other kind of regular physical activity, including cardio-fests like regularly playing soccer and lifting weights at the gym.
Can you think of any other benefits we’ve left out? Let us know! Chat later, we’re just getting our work walking shoes on…