The economy is reopening and that means you might be returning to work. If not, you might be anticipating a return to the shops and restaurants in your community that have been closed for months.
But have you thought about how you’re going to get there?
That’s a conversation many people seem to be overlooking. If you were taking transit to get around, you might have second thoughts. Transit will be operating in a limited capacity in many communities. Traffic might be worse than ever before.
You might not have a car to begin with.
This could be the perfect time to include more activity into your day by changing how you commute. Research has found that biking or walking to work may lower the risk of illness or dying early from several conditions.
Looking at data from 300,000 commuters in England and Wales over 25 years, researchers found that people who biked or walked to work had better health outcomes.
Compared to driving commuters, those who biked to work had a 20% lower rate of early death and a 24% lower rate of cardiovascular disease. Walking or biking to work can also reduce the risk of COVID-19 because they are low-proximity outdoor activities.
Biking and walking both aid heart health by promoting better circulation and lower pressure. The added movement may also contribute to weight loss, glucose sensitivity, and reduced joint pain.
If you live within a reasonable distance of your workplace or favorite shops in your community, consider leaving the car or the bus pass at home. Instead, use your body to propel you around town. It may take some extra time but the pay-off will be worth it.
In the case where you don’t feel safe walking through your community or various streets on the way to work, explore alternative routes or perhaps drive (if possible) to an area where you do feel safe.
One issue you may encounter walking or biking around town in the summer is heat. To help you stay cool, wear loose-fitting clothing, stay well hydrated (bring cold water with you), and carry an umbrella if desired.