With a multitude of benefits, choosing an active way to get to work can bring you better health and a super green commute! Live too far away from work? Don’t live in a walkable neighborhood? Think about carpooling or taking transit most of the way and then walking that last mile or two to work – your health will thank you!
Walking can be a great commute choice for short distances, or as part of a longer commute. And whether you walk, wheel, or run to work once a week or every day, it can be a relaxing, easy, and inexpensive choice. While walking may take longer, consider that the time you spend walking might be more relaxing and rewarding than sitting in knuckle-whitening, bumper-to-bumper traffic – you may even pass some of those commuters along your trek! And walking burns about 350 calories per hour, so you can commute and stay fit at the same time.
Study a street map and pick a route that will take you through safe neighborhoods on well-paved, barrier-free sidewalks. If you are wheeling it, make sure the route has alternatives to stairs. Pick a route that includes transit stops, in case you’re running late or it starts to storm. Consider driving the route or walking it first on a weekend when you may have more time to check it out.
Although walking is a vehicle-less form of transportation, you still need to obey traffic laws. Observe traffic signals and be on the alert for cars and bicycles. Be visible and predictable. Avoid crossing the street between parked cars. If you listen to music when you walk, be aware. Make sure the music is low enough so you can still hear honking cars, fire engines, and police sirens. And, don’t text when walking. Make sure you make eye contact with the driver, before you cross any intersection.
A co-worker or neighbor who walks in the same direction can be a welcome companion to keep you motivated to walk on a regular basis. Walking puts you on intimate terms with your surroundings and helps you discover unexpected nooks and crannies of your environment. Take advantage of this freedom to explore, and vary your route to work. You’ll soon notice new bookstores, cafes, and other places to shop and browse on your way home from work or on your days off.
By logging your trips in Trip Calendar, you can quickly see both your financial and environmental savings for choosing an active commute.