We’ve all been there. Sitting in traffic for what seems like an eternity, tapping your hands on the steering wheel, feeling anxious and impatient as traffic lights turn red and another vehicle cuts you off. It’s no wonder people who walk to work are happier.
A recent study by the University of East Anglia reported that ‘the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological well-being’. Research also shows that individuals who actively travel to work or use public transport are significantly healthier (in regards to BMI and body fat percentage) than those who commute to work privately.
Ditching the car will create less carbon emissions too, so it’s a win win all round! Feel happier, help the environment and boost your well-being just by changing your daily commute!
Try these five alternatives the next time you travel to and from work.
1. Walk away your worries
If you live close to your work, try getting there by foot! Slip on your runners, pack your work shoes in a backpack and enjoy the freedom of simply walking out your front door. You’ll be amazed what it does to your mood, energy and fitness level! For extra motivation pop on some headphones and enjoy your favourite tunes as you walk. You’ll see your neighbourhood from a whole new perspective and might even make some interesting discoveries along the way.
2. Get peddling
If you live a little further from your work, riding by bicycle is the perfect option. Imagine how pumped you’ll feel by the time you get to work after gliding down the streets in the fresh, morning air! Riding a bicycle is far more enjoyable than sitting in traffic and could even get you to work faster by avoiding those peak hour traffic jams! Plus who doesn’t want an incidental workout on their way to and from work?
3. Relax On The Train or Bus
You’ll be benefiting the environment by saving on carbon emissions and you can get things done while someone else is doing the driving! Knock off some personal emails, catch up with your loved ones on the phone, enjoy the luxury of reading your favourite book or use the time for gentle stretches to ease away those office desk knots - the choice is yours. The walk to and from the train or bus station is an added bonus as it provides the opportunity for exercise!
4. Get Social - Commute With Friends
Save on petrol and parking costs and help the environment by car pooling. Instead of getting anxious in traffic by yourself, you’ll be busy chatting away and enjoying each other’s company during the drive. Just make sure you don’t distract the driver too much! You could even organise a weekly exercise session on your way home from work, with the added motivation of having a workout buddy.
5. Have Fun On The Ferry
If you’re lucky enough to be able to catch a ferry to work, get onboard! Why not start your day as if you were on a holiday? Even if it means walking a little distance before or after the ferry terminal, it’s worth it for the feeling of freedom and fun. What’s more, the research on switching to public transport shows you’ll become healthier by shedding the pounds (2)! Once you get a taste of the sun on your face and the wind in your hair you’ll never want to sit in claustrophobic traffic again.
6. Get Creative In The Car
If none of the above options are possible and you’re confined to your car, don’t worry there’s still hope for you! Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to use your time efficiently and fill your mind with ideas and inspiration as you drive. If you’re an anxious driver, uplifting music and a lavender essential oil (sprayed onto your wrists) can do wonders to your mood and stress levels. At the traffic lights give yourself a gentle neck massage and roll your shoulders to ease away any tension.
By shaking up your regular commute you could find new inspiration, save money, help the environment and become fitter and happier in the process. Imagine starting and finishing each day feeling optimistic and energised! An easy way to start is by implementing these changes at least twice a week then gradually build up to five days - once you start to feel the benefits you’ll be hooked!