Switch to a more active commute this spring to take advantage of the sunshine
Spring’s arrival means less time cooped up and more time in the sun.
One way to take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine is to try out a new commute. When you trade time behind the wheel for a more active commute, you’ll start feeling the benefits right away. In fact, a 2014 BMJ study found that people who commute to work via public transportation, walking or biking have a significantly lower BMI and percentage body fat than people who drive cars, ride taxis or motorcycles to work.
Looking to take on a more active commute? Here are some essentials:
1. Reusable water bottle
If walking briskly is part of your plan, it’s crucial to have water on hand. WebMD suggests drinking 2 cups of water before you start moving and 4-6 oz of water every 15-20 minutes of activity.
2. Comfortable shoes and extra socks
Make sure you have a supportive pair of sneakers or shoes that you know work well for walking and don’t give you blisters. The Mayo Clinic has tips on how to find a supportive pair of walking shoes. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of nicer shoes at your workplace—or even keep a pair of small flats in your bag to change into when you get to work. Plus, keep an extra pair of socks in your work bag—they can come in handy on a rainy day.
3. On-the-go Snack
If you’re burning extra calories each day on your commute, keep a snack in your bag in case you need a pick-me-up on your route. A granola bar or a bag of trail mix can provide you with protein and nutrients and tide you over until the next meal. Remember that buses and trains have rules about when and where you can eat.
4. Personal Necessities
Whether you’re out in the sun or wind, it’s important to be prepared. Carry deodorant in your work bag, and keep lip balm on hand for you to use on the go—along with any cosmetics you might need for a quick touch up. If you’re biking to work and take a shower at your office, bring with you small travel-size shower supplies.
5. Compact Umbrella
Spring showers are coming. Make sure to keep a small umbrella in your bag just in case. It doesn’t take up much space, plus it might save you on one of those rainy Atlanta afternoons!
Because of the unpredictability of Atlanta weather, you need to be prepared with layers of clothing you can put on and take off. Check the weather beforehand and make sure you pack a sweater or jacket if it’s going to get chilly—or a T-shirt if it’s going to heat up.
7. Bike Essentials
If your commute involves biking, make sure you always carry a small pump or CO2 cartridge with you, along with a spare tube in case of a flat tire. A multi-tool can be a lifesaver in a variety of biking situations. A good bike lock is also an essential when you’re biking around the city—even if your workplace has indoor bike storage. And make sure you have a strong set of bike lights that can ensure you can see and be seen when the sun goes down.
Which headphones are best for commuters? Ones that stay in place—when you’re on the go, you don’t want to lose an earphone-- and that you can easily remove, so that you can hear any announcements or engage in conversation if someone is asking you a question. Make sure you have a solid pair of headphones that can accompany you on your commute, so that you can listen to podcasts, audiobooks or music while on the go.
9. Audiobook App
Audiobooks allow you to enjoy the pleasure of reading while on the go. Most local libraries carry subscriptions to audiobook apps, where you can check out a variety of interesting audiobooks at no cost. Grab your library card and log on to scope out some good picks for your commute!
10. Step Counting App
When you commit to incorporating more walking into your commute, you should track your steps so you can see the impact. Many smart phones have a built in app that tracks steps, but otherwise be on the lookout for a pedometer app that can help you track steps and even set goals and challenges for yourself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week (including brisk walking), in additional to muscle strengthening activities, for substantial health benefits. So if your daily commute involves 15 minutes of walking each way, five days a week, then you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle!
BONUS: IN*MidtownATL App
If you’re going to be walking through Midtown more, be sure to download the IN*MidtownATL app, which serves as a walking tour of the district and can help you find nearby points of interest. The more you walk, the more you can discover! Check out our Midtown Walking Map for an easy guide to amenities throughout the district.
Note: Midtown Transportation’s annual Walk Challenge will take place in the fall this year.