By Melanie Stewart
I know it seems crazy to think about switching up your commute during the winter, but it’s the perfect time to do so!
Last Tuesday did you slip and slide to work in a commute that took you twice as long? My carpool was passed by somebody on a bike, and people who rode the bus enjoyed the lack of stress, didn’t have to worry about their car or their personal safety, and got here at the same time as the rest of us…but they got to work, read, rest, or play games while the rest of us white-knuckled our way to work.
Many of you live close enough to walk. If you haven’t thought of it before, consider it as part of your workout routine.
Case in point: Dr. Laurey Steinke.
Dr. Steinke’s doctor told her that her triglycerides had gone up and she’d need to start a medication. Not wanting to resort to that, she vowed to make dietary changes and increase her physical activity by walking. She lives about a mile from UNMC and pledged to walk any time she didn’t have off-campus appointments requiring a car. If she wanted to, she could use Zipcar for these instances.
“I have always walked once or twice a week in good weather, but I’ve been able to increase my walking knowing that I have a free shower on hot summer days, and a free emergency ride home if something happens.”
Dr. Steinke started using the MyFitnessPal app to track food intake and walked to and from work regularly. The result?
“Since I started I have lost 36 pounds, which is 25% of my body weight. My triglycerides are down and I don’t need to pay for or take a medication. Walking also gives me time to decompress, which is great for mental health.”
She also likes the environmental benefits of walking: knowing that she’s not contributing to global warming or air pollution in Omaha, and saving money on gas.
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, increase your activity, or change your health? TravelSmart can be a part of that resolution. Turning your commute time into exercise time is a simple change that can improve your health and save you money.
Thinking about adding walking to your routine? Consider these tips before getting started:
- Get good walking shoes and then recycle them as they wear out.
- If you can get 2 pairs and rotate shoes, do it.
- Warm up your muscles before hitting your top pace.
- Dress appropriately—wear the right clothes for the weather, and dress in layers.
- Carry water with you (in a reusable bottle, of course!)
- Wear sunscreen, even in the winter.
- Plan a route and leave yourself enough time to walk where you want to.
- Consider music, it’s a good way to get more from your walk…just don’t listen too loud, you want to hear what’s around you.
- Be Safe! Check out our tips for both pedestrians and drivers.
- Don’t forget, walking can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.