Total Therapy Blog
Commuting is rarely a fun experience. If you’re like most British Columbians, your daily commute to work is done by car, and takes about an hour out of your day. In fact, Statistics Canada estimates that Canadians spend an average of 12 days out of the year commuting to and from work (Statistics Canada).
Sitting in a car stuck in rush hour in a summer heat wave is most people’s idea of purgatory. But commuting by car isn’t just an inconvenience – it’s bad for your health. Car commuters consistently score more poorly on health measures such as obesity, heart disease, and blood pressure than their non-car commuters. One study found that for every hour spent in a car, an individual’s risk for obesity increased 6% (American Journal of Preventative Medicine). In a time where nearly 1 in 4 Canadians are obese, and an additional 1 in 3 are considered overweight, our collectively expanding waistlines represent a serious health threat (Research Chair in Obesity).
It’s more than just physical health, though. Commuters who use “people-powered” options like walking or biking enjoy their commute more than their car-reliant counterparts (Bike Portland). And then there are the (considerable) mental health fringe benefits of having an active commute: decreased stress, increased sense of well-being, and better sleep quality.
If we haven’t convinced you so far, consider this: June is bike month. The weather’s turned fair, the sun is out – why not take up the challenge yourself and try being a bike commuter for a week – or even a day? Translink’s website has great resources on bike routes, lockers, and other cyclist commuter information (see Translink).
By turning your commute from a sedentary experience to an active one, you’ll improve your physical and mental health, save on gas costs, and enjoy a more pleasant commute experience. Who knows – you may even shave off a couple pounds in time for the beach weather. Here’s to an active summer!