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Shoe Me the Way to Health and Wealth

csquires Blogger

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Millions of Americans make a daily drive to work, but not all commutes are created equal.

 

According to a 2015 review (the latest available) by the U.S. Census Bureau, about 86% of American workers commute to work by car. But not everyone is driving a long distance. If you find yourself driving five minutes to work each morning out of habit, maybe it’s time to rethink your commute.

 

A five-minute drive translates into a manageable walk. And taking that walk not only saves you the stress of driving but also comes with big health – and potentially financial – benefits.

 

The American Heart Association reports a short daily walk can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke; improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels; improve your mental state; and even reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.

 

And the London School of Economics and Political Science found a brisk walk is the best exercise for keeping weight down.

 

Is your daily drive walkable?

Google maps offers an easy way to check whether you should be putting the pedal to the metal or shoe leather to the sidewalk. Enter your home and work address and click the walk icon for an estimated walk time conversion.

 

For example, a five-minute drive from Denver’s urban Capitol Hill neighborhood to a downtown office tower converts to a 21-minute walk (including a stroll across the Colorado Capitol gardens). Even that short 20-minute walk offers significant health benefits, according to the Harvard Medical School.

 

Need another reason? How about cash. Take that five-minute Denver drive and add parking. Parking downtown runs about $170-$190 a month. Even at the low end, that’s $2,040 a year. Direct those monthly parking fees into a retirement account for 20 years, invested at a hypothetical 5% annual rate of growth, and that’s $67,454, as calculated by a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission program.

 

More fit, more relaxed, and more money sounds pretty good. It’s worth thinking about adding a little sole to your daily routine.

 

But you live a 10-minute drive away? That converts to a 20-minute bike ride, and biking, too, comes with health benefits (just be sure to wear a helmet).

 

Have you found an unconventional way of squeezing in a bit of exercise? Share your tips.

 

Want to get started? April 5 is National Walking Day, kicking off a month-long celebration of walking. And National Bike to Work Week is May 16th - 20th.

 

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6 Comments
ctsai Blogger

I love this. Walking home instead of taking the (free) train takes me twice as long, but I find it is a good way to unwind after work and enjoy the nice spring weather. I used to think I was saving time by taking the train and catching up on reading, but these days I think the health benefits and stress relief from walking are totally worth making time for.

Tapdanceterri

Great article that sheds light on the importance of moving more.

 

I recently purchased a FitBit and discovered that I was walking very few steps (averaging about 1000 steps per day). So, I became motivated and now average 7000 steps at work. How do I do that? I park as far as I can from the front door of the St. Petersburg office (it takes about 5 minutes to get to the door), so that is an easy 10 minute walk. I also walk for an average of 4 min. when I use the microwave at work (who needs to watch their food cook for 4 minutes). My FitBit is set to go off every hour, so I get up and walk around the desk, take the long route to the restroom, etc.

 

I have discovered that idleness is a key factor in aging. Who wants to age faster???

#cmgr

@Tapdanceterri - what an interesting story! I have had quite the same revelation, albeit my lazy days average about 4,000 steps. I have a dog and I am obligated to walk with her Smiley Happy But yes, I noticed that even a short 30 min run in the morning easily puts me into the 7,000 steps reach to start the day off... But I have also just started going for an after dinner walk with my husband or dog and add a couple more thousands steps with a lazy stroll in the setting sun. Try it. It's great for digestion and sleep!

 

@ctsai - I noticed that walking to work and taking the bus is 20 min for me either way. I was aching for the sunshine and dry weather so I could walk to and from work and cash in on the exercise. What is the time difference for you if you walk vs. take the train?

ctsai Blogger

@nvecsei I am spoiled - the train is a 7-min. ride, and a walk is 15 min! Love it. 

#cmgr

@ctsai that is a very good walking distance!

#cmgr

I posted a challenge about daily commutes! I would love to see your feedback here

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