Maximizing the Commute

In the previous article, I outlined how I used my workdays to incorporate activity including during the commute.

“Workdays in the office, I was up at 4:30am for a 5:56am train. For the walks on either side of the train ride, I always took longer routes than necessary, equaling 2-3 miles. During the end of day commute, I would go directly home, but after dinner go for a 3-4 mile walk.”

I have lived less than a mile from my workplace, but as far as 36 miles away. For the 36 mile commute, I drove or did a combination of walking and public transportation. From an activity aspect, the best commute was not driving. When I did the walk and public transportation combination, I walked almost 4 miles between the morning and evening commutes. When driving, I was mentally drained by the time I got home and did nothing.

Regardless of your situation, there are ways you can get in activity.

Short Commutes

If you are fortunate enough to have a commute of 10 miles are less – use it! Leave earlier and walk, run, or bike it. A 2-3 mile walk can be completed 30-45 minutes and burn over 200 calories.

Long Commutes

Long commutes are mentally and physically tough on anyone. If you must drive, plan around your drive. Most commute time tends to include extra time in traffic because of rush hour. In the Bay Area, most people work between 9am and 6pm. The busiest driving hours are between 6am and 10am and 3pm and 7pm depending on the area. Combining traffic and office time, most people tend to be away from home for 10-16 hours a day. If you need to be in the office for 9am and leave at 5pm, but then sit in traffic for 2 hours on the drive home, why not shift your arrival or departure times? Use the office or join a nearby gym and get a work out in. You could schedule a midday lunch workout and leave the office an hour later or leave your desk at 5pm, go to the gym, and then hit the road at 6pm hitting the end of the rush hour timeframe.

If you work a later day, then do the opposite. Long story short – plan for a 30-60 minute workout instead of sitting in traffic for that time span. Most commute time can be reduce by leaving earlier or later, so why not spend that time being active!

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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