Most people drive to work or take some form of mass transit into the office. However, if you live within a mile or two of your office, walking is an option. And no matter how inefficient it might seem, this could be the best possible mode of transportation for your mind, body, and wallet. With a few simple suggestions, you’ll be well on your way.
The Benefits of Walking to Work
Walking to work requires some effort and exertion. And it’s certainly not as comfortable as sitting in your car’s heated leather seats and listening to your favorite tunes. But when it comes to the benefits – they’re unmatched. Here are a few:
Better physical health. People who walk to work have better cardiovascular health, improved circulation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and a lower risk of obesity. It’s a great form of exercise that most people miss out on by driving to work.
Better emotional health. Exercise doesn’t just benefit your physical health. It also has a profoundly positive impact on your mental and emotional health. Walking actually causes chemical changes in the brain, like the release of pain-killing, joy-inducing endorphins. This boosts your mood and energy levels throughout the day.
Less expensive. This is a small benefit compared to the previous two, but it’s a perk nonetheless. If you live two miles from your office, walking to work could save you roughly 40 miles in driving per month. That’s less gas and fewer miles on your vehicle, which could lower your insurance rate. (Not to mention, there are plenty of cost savings associated with being healthier.)
Simple Tips for Walking to Work
Better health, less stress, and more money in your pocket? It’s hard to beat that. Now you just have to figure out how to do it. Here are several tips:
Plan your route. Be strategic in how you plan your route to work. The route you drive into the office might not be the ideal route for walking. Generally speaking, you want sidewalks, quieter streets, minimal intersections, greenway paths, good lighting, and safe areas with plenty of other foot traffic. If you’re having trouble figuring out the best path, you can use an online walking route planner.
Pick the right shoes. Your shoe selection has a significant impact on your walk. It influences your comfort, speed, and foot support. Ideally, you want comfortable athletic shoes that are fitted to your foot type and arch. You can wear them on your walk and then switch shoes once you arrive at the office.
Choose the right bag. You’ll need some sort of bag on your walk to carry your personal belongings, laptop, work items, etc. The key is to choose a bag that’s both comfortable and stylish. For women, leather crossbody bags are a great choice. Not only are they comfortable, but they also look beautiful and are versatile enough to use as a purse for an evening out. This means you can walk to work with it and also bring it with you for drinks after work.
Keep toiletries in your office. Depending on how long your walk is and what the weather conditions are, you could work up quite the sweat on your walk into work. That’s why we recommend keeping your office stocked with toiletries. This includes dry shampoo, deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, and a hair brush. Arrive to the office at least 10 minutes early to give yourself time to freshen up.
Use your time wisely. Let’s say it takes you 40 minutes to walk to work (each way). That’s roughly 6.5 hours per week (or more than 340 hours per year). That’s a lot of time. Make sure you’re using it wisely. For some people, this time is best spent thinking. For others, it’s a good time to listen to educational podcasts and expand your learning. Some people will want to use the time to pray or meditate. Or it could be a good time to call friends and catch up with people you don’t usually get to talk to. It’ll be different for everyone – just make sure you’re using your time wisely!
Give yourself some grace. You don’t have to walk to work every day. It’s okay if you do it just two or three times per week. Or if there’s a week where the weather is extremely cold or wet, you can always drive into the office. Don’t view it as “all or nothing.”
Adding it All Up
Walking to work might seem like a strange thing to do in an age of cars, subways, buses, and bikes. But life isn’t always about being the fastest or most efficient person. Sometimes it pays to slow down and challenge yourself. And who knows? You might even like it.