Commuting by car doesn’t just try your patience.
An Australian study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that it can also lead to weight gain, even if you’re active on the weekends.
One answer is to turn at least part of your commute into a workout.
As cities with municipal bike programs like New York and Cleveland have shown, biking is a quick way to get around and get great exercise. You don’t have to be a world-class cyclist or even go very fast to gain benefits from this low-impact cardio activity.
Of course, you want to take all the necessary safety precautions. That means making sure your bike is in good working order. Wear a helmet plus any other protective gear that’s appropriate for you. Obey local traffic rules and take safe routes, preferably those with a dedicated bike lane.
If your commute is too long to bike the entire way, try other ideas to shorten your time in the car. For instance, park your car 15 minutes from your office and walk the rest of the way — you’ll arrive less stressed. You’ll also unwind on the way back to your car at the end of the day.
If you commute with mass transit, build some activity into your mornings by getting off one stop short of your destination. If you take a bus and a train, try biking to the station instead of bussing it.
These nuggets of exercise are especially important if your job is sedentary — they help undo the risks of sitting for hours a day. And you might just find them to be enjoyable alternatives to all that time spent sitting in traffic.
The Cleveland Clinic has more on how to convert your commute from a car to a bike, even if only part of the time.
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