Working, commuting, and fitting in social activities can make it difficult to find time to exercise. But what if the solution wasn’t finding more time to exercise, but turning one of the activities you already do into exercise? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, incorporating physical movement into your commute—walking, taking public transit, or biking to work instead of driving—can dramatically affect your ability to lose weight and keep it off. The article reports on several studies showing a strong correlation between an active commute and weight loss—in one study, people with an active commute longer than 30 minutes one-way, lost more than 15 pounds on average over two years. In another study, people using the public light-rail system in Charlotte, NC lost, on average, 6.5 pounds after a year and a half. Yet, relatively few Americans integrate exercise into their commute. In 2013, over 76% of commuters drove to work, with fewer than 3% walking or cycling. Part of the reason for these low numbers is that it can be difficult to commute actively in cities that are spread out. The article suggests, however, that even if you live more than a few miles away from where you work, there are ways you can still make your commute active:
- Walk to and from public transit. This way, you can ride most of the way to work, but still get a good amount of exercise.
- You don’t have to commute actively every day. Try it out a couple of days a week, monitor your progress, and if you’re feeling up to it (and losing weight), you can take it up a notch from there.
Source: Wall Street Journal