Commuting is often unavoidable. However, the means of your commute are entirely your own choosing. With the summer months upon us and the inevitable complaints of “the train is too hot” or “traffic is too heavy” replacing “the subway is too crowded” or “the roads are terrible” moans of yester-winter, perhaps it’s time to try a different mode of transportation – one under your own power. Whether you bike or run to work, there are endless benefits to alternative commutes. Below I’ve listed my top 10 reasons to change up your commute in favor of alternative transportation – and how you can make your morning routines more fun!
Social networking apps now make it easy track and share your workouts. I use STRAVA and it has made the entire world a virtual race track. The days of presuming someone running faster than you wasn’t going as far are gone. Everyone is a competitor. There’s no greater feeling that getting to work and telling your colleagues you’re Ranked No1 on the ‘Buckingham Palace sprint.’ I would also bet this ranks as the most annoying thing to hear about for non-runners. If you’re not on Strava then do yourself a favor and take advantage of this free app. It is even available on your phone so you don’t need a fancy GPS watch. Find me: Max Willcocks and see how your commute measures up. Not quite into competing with other commuters biking or running to work? Try an app like MapMyFitness that lets you showcase your workouts without comparing your time or distance to others taking alternative transportation. Plus, you can always sign up for optional challenges if you’re getting a competitive itch.
Train on someone else’s time
I’ve never considered the commute to be my own time. Let’s face it, if it was up to me I’d work from home. Someone else is forcing me to leave the comfort of my own house each day. Why not take this time back and kill two birds with one stone? Choose a transportation alternative that lets you get a workout in as well. And, even if you don’t run or bike to work every day – or only for part of the commute, you can still take your time back by reading on the bus or listening to audio books on your drive in.
Explore your surroundings
Have you ever really seen your city? When you choose alternative transportation, like running to work you’ll see places and buildings you’ve never seen before. Plus you’ll be practically on a par with cab drivers when it comes to street knowledge and what’s where.
I can be smug at the best of times, but if I’ve run seven miles to work, you’re going to hear about it. “Max, you shouldn’t be eating muffins,” “Don’t worry my over-concerned, desperately-nosey colleague, I’ve run seven miles this morning, I’ve earned this.” Enough said. Feel free to replace ‘muffin’ with ‘beer’ and ‘colleague’ with ‘spouse.’
Catch some rays
When the sun is out, I want my running shoes on to soak up some Vitamin D during my commute. The morning sunrise and evening skies can be inspiring, but only if you see them! And the perspective is so much better when you’re running or biking to work rather than sitting frustrated in traffic.
More room on the bus or train
Not all of us have a commute that can be fully managed by running or biking. And we don’t all need to be running half marathons daily. But you can still get in a workout running to or from the transit station, or running to work and catching a train or bus home. Plus, not only will your alternative commuting save you money and give you a good workout, but you’ll also have a wider berth on the transit. Have you ever sat on a train next to someone who’s run to the station? Neither have I. Usually, that’s because I’m the smelly mess that everyone is trying to avoid. Genius! If you want extra space, make part of your commute a cardio session.
Working hard is, well… its hard work. There’s nothing like pounding the pavement to put the world to rights and come to the realization that your boss’ fake tan is in fact ridiculous and nothing they say should really get to you. Run your worries away, it’ll change your perspective.
People are beautiful
When was the last time you gave another commuter on the train a nod in the morning. Hardly ever, right? On the pavements and the paths, it’s all secret head nods and wry smiles of acknowledgement between alternative commuters. We’re in this together and feeling great.
Running or biking to work may not be faster than driving, but if you factor in time saved now that you don’t have to pay for train after
Productivity in the office and at home
I’ve left this to last because, well, it may be true but for me it’s the least pertinent since I’ve been take advantage of alternative green transportation methods for some time now. However, as soon as you start, you will undoubtedly be ten million times more productive after some morning and/or evening exercise. Hooray for you.