on a man (or woman)-powered commute – the Flintstones had it right!

posted in: For Patients! | 2

For all of us who don’t work out of home, a commute is a part of our daily life. I recently began biking to work, and I love it so much that I’m blogging about it!

Initially I had all of my excuses laid out: my work is far from home; I often travel to and from the office twice a day; I work with people so I don’t want to be stinky; Vancouver gets a lot of rain. But then one day I finally hopped on my bike and tried it – and I am so glad that I did! Whether you live close enough to walk, prefer to run, or love riding your bike, it’s time to flex your muscles while travelling to work. Here are some of the benefits I’ve already noticed:

You burn extra calories

Probably the most obvious benefit of a man-powered commute is the fact that you will burn more calories. You get to use the time spent getting to and from work as an additional daily activity. Of course your specific calorie output will depend upon several factors. The main variables in caloric output are your weight, the time spent doing the activity, and how vigorously your are exercising. According to Harvard Health Publications, 30 minutes of walking can burn from 120 to 222 calories. The same time spent bicycling will burn from 240 up to 733 calories, with running being similar to biking. By just changing that way that you get from point A to B, you could significantly increase the amount of calories you burn in a week.

You spend less time sitting

You’ve surely come across the latest Sitting is the New Smoking headlines by now. A sedentary lifestyle comes with numerous health risks including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. While it is still important to cut out sitting time during the day, you can at least incorporate daily activity in your commute. The average person in Vancouver spends 66 minutes commuting everyday. That’s 5.5 hours in a standard work week! If you are able to turn even part of your commute into active minutes, you will easily reach the recommended 2.5 hours of weekly activity.

You save money

Every time you put your keys in your car’s ignition and start burning fuel, you are spending money. In Mr. Money Moustache’s 2011 blog post on the cost of commuting, he calculates that each mile farther you live from work costs you $795 per year. He also mentioned in his article that his numbers are all based on the United States, where both cars and gas are cheaper. Out of curiosity, I tried to find a similar calculation based on Canadian prices. What I found is the CAA calculator. They base their estimates on driving 20,000 kms per year, which seems reasonable for a commuter. According to the CAA, a compact car will cost you $8,846 per year, a mid-size car runs for $10,363, while full-size cars cost $12,344 annually. ANY amount of driving that you are able to cut back on will be saving you money, as biking and walking are essentially free!

You arrive happy 🙂

Instead of fighting traffic, resisting road rage, and arriving to work frustrated, you can cruise through bike lanes, get some activity in, and give your brain a boost to start and end the day! When you exercise, your body responds by releasing endorphins. Endorphins interact with your brain to reduce your perception of pain, while giving your body a positive feeling that is comparable to morphine. And that’s not all! Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, and improve sleep.

…and maybe, you’ll get famous!

This is not a guarantee, but I managed to get on the news while biking to work! Watch the clip (and my 2 seconds of fame) on Global News here!

Have I convinced you to try out a man-powered commute yet? Or do you already bike to work? Let me know in the comments below!



2 Responses

  1. Dallas

    Great blog post Dr. Caitlin! You make many excellent points. Mr. Money Moustache also says that if our current circumstances prevent us from walking or biking to work, then we should make it our goal to alter our situation until we can. Even if that means moving houses! So many benefits!

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