Life Skills

Happy Bike to Work Day to all the cyclists among us!

Riding your bike to work is something that is always encouraged when possible. Not only does it help to reduce your carbon footprint and save yourself hefty public transport/fuel costs; the health benefits are endless.

Regular cycling is a great way of getting fit and it has also been found to reduce stress, so what better way to combat tension after a taxing day in the office?

Cycling is not the only way that you can achieve a healthy commute however and there are a few things you can do to make your journeys to and from work healthier, no matter what mode of transport you use.

Here are a few ways that you can make your commute healthier, less stressful and more pleasant:

1) Walk more:

If you live close to work, chances are that you may even be able to get there faster by foot than in rush hour traffic and it’s a great opportunity to burn a few extra calories in your busy schedule. If you get the bus or train to work, why not get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way?

2) Jog:

This option is slightly more physically demanding, but it would do you a world of good! People spend good money on gym memberships, that could be saved by incorporating exercise into our daily routines and killing two birds with one stone!

3) Buddy up:

Commuting alone can make us feel a bit lonely at times, which can lead to general unhappiness, so why not find a buddy to share the journey with? If you drive it could also save money on fuel when split between more than one of you, or you could even alternate whose turn is it to do the driving.

4) Healthy snacks:

You never know when you’re going to be effected by traffic jams or delays, so avoid entering a ‘hangry’ state by packing some healthy snacks, such as fruit or cereal bars, that will tide you through until you’re home for dinner.

It will also stop you from caving in to fast food temptations on route!

5) Stay hydrated:

Dehydration can make you feel tired and light headed, so always carry a bottle of water with you so that you can stay hydrated throughout your journey. This is extra important if you choose a more active means of getting to and from work, such as cycling, running or walking.

6) Stand/Sit up straight:

Whether you’re sitting down in a car/train/bus or standing up, try to pay attention to your posture, as it will help to prevent back pain. Sit at the edge of the seat, keep your feet flat on the floor, draw the navel up and in, and lift up through the crown of the head. If you’re standing, stay square through the shoulders, lift from the head and keep the spine straight.

7) Technology time out:

Chances are that you spend pretty much all day using technology, so your commute could be an opportunity to take a much needed break from it. Unless you’re expecting an important call, you might want to consider turning your phone off and using the journey to have some down time.

8) Relax:

Meditation is a great way to de-stress and put you in a positive mindset. Close your eyes and try to let go of anything that has been playing on your mind. You could even download a meditation app that will guide you through to a state of relaxation.

This probably isn’t suitable if you drive to work (it’s best to focus on the road when behind the wheel!), but by listening to soothing music and focusing on breathing, it can help you to relax and unwind. Focus on long exhalations, then inhalations, as the rhythm will relax both the brain and body.

9) Take a nap:

If you take public transport to work, you could grasp the chance to catch up on a few Z’s and refresh your body. Just make sure you don’t miss your stop!

10) Open the window and make your car a smoke-free-zone:

Getting a bit of fresh air when driving will help you to stay alert and focus on the road.

If you’re a smoker, it may be tempting to light up in the car , especially if you’ve got a long commute. You may feel like it helps you to destress when in traffic, however it is not the best habit to get in to. Try to break this habit by banning all smoking in your vehicle and making sure any cigarettes and lighters are out of reach.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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