Active Commuting for a Healthy Heart

Dec 04, 2012
Tagged with: Active Commuting for a Healthy Heart

How do you get to where you’re going? Personally I like to use the car as little as possible. This might be because I am a poor graduate student who likes to save on gas, or because my car is a lease and I don’t want to put miles on it…but one of the best reasons to leave the car in the garage (or parking lot) is because active commuting is great for your health! Active commuting can decrease your risk for heart disease by more than 10% and also helps to manage your weight (Hamer and Chida, 2008).

So what is active commuting? Active commuting means getting to your daily activities (work, social, play) by using your own human power (walking, biking, skate boarding, you name it!). Active commuting falls into the category of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). LTPA is activity that you do that is not exercise. Even if you do exercise, doing little things like taking and after-dinner walk or a lunch time stroll through the park are great for your physical and mental health.

How can you start active commuting? If you live close enough to your work or school, try walking or biking (if the roads and sidewalks are safe). Try walking to the corner store for your mid-week grocery trips instead of driving. If work is too far away to bike or walk, try parking far enough away so that you walk for about 10 minutes to get from your car to work (maybe you’ll even find a spot you don’t have to pay for!) If you use a wheelchair you might consider an attachable handcycle. Attachable handcycles connect to your own wheelchair and allow you to travel much faster than regular pushing. They are small enough to bring into the office and stash in a corner until it’s time to bike home.

I love my walks to and from work/school. I usually use the time to call my family and friends to catch up, or sometimes I just let my mind wander and enjoy being outside and moving. I especially like knowing that even on days when I don’t do a “real” workout, I walked for about 40 minutes.

Keep an eye out for more information from me on how to add more leisure-time physical activity to your life!

For more resource information on how to get your community involved please check out National Complete Streets Coalition




Author: Susan Silverman