What’s stopping you from walking to work? says Abi Clapham
Let me ask you a question. How do you get to work? Do you drive? Or perhaps you’re brave enough to face the horrors of the commuter train or bus each morning (rather you than me)? Okay, now let me pose the question slightly differently. What’s stopping you from walking to work? If you’re going to answer something about living 15 miles away, then you are very much forgiven for having to resort to a vehicle to get you from A to B. Those of you who live a little closer however are missing out on a whole load of benefits. So before you even think about setting foot on that bus, or reaching for your car keys, here are five reasons why you should start walking to work.
1. Your fitness levels will improve
Dust off those trainers, guys, and let’s get fit. I hear so many people at my workplace moaning that all they do is sit on their bum all day and eat unhealthy snacks. And then they bemoan their expanding waistline, and the fact that walking up a flight of stairs leaves them breathless. Now I’m not saying you have to go to the gym five days a week or eat like a saint – we all get cravings for salty crisps now and again. But by walking to and from work, you’ll soon find that your fitness will take a turn for the better, and you may even notice that the waistband on your jeans feels a little looser. It’s a win-win situation really.
2. You’ll never be late for work again
Another benefit of walking to work is that you are in control. That means that you’ll no longer have to worry about being stuck in traffic, or the fact that your bus turns up five minutes late every day like clockwork, meaning you have to run the last little bit and arrive at work at 9:01am, red-faced, sweaty and panting – attractive. No, by walking to work, you are free to set the pace. You’ll probably also find some handy shortcuts over time, which may mean that you can leave the house later than you originally did when you took public transport, and still arrive on time for work – unless of course, you walk at crawling speed. In that case, you may need to up the pace a bit.
3. You’ll find it easier to concentrate
Working in a busy office can sometimes mean it’s a little difficult to concentrate, don’t you think? Well if your office is anything like my place, you’ll understand that there can be occasions when everything seems to be a distraction. I’m thinking about that obligatory chat first thing in the morning over a cuppa (or bowl of cornflakes in my friend’s case); the 11 o’clock munchies (where all manner of crisps are consumed, read: inhaled); the 10 minutes just before lunch time, when you’ve practically given up on work due to the large rumblings in your stomach; the post-lunch do-we-really-have-to-sit-here-and-work feeling; the 3pm brew o’clock; the 4pm slump (can’t-believe-it’s-not-home-time-yet); and finally, those last 10 minutes before home time.
Now, I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the point. A long day at the office is just asking for trouble sometimes. But walking to work will really set you up for the day. You’ll get a little exercise, breathe in a great lungful of fresh air, and arrive at work meaning business. Think about your current trip to work – is it stressful, anxiously waiting for a bus, which deep down, you know probably won’t turn up? Does it annoy you that you never get a seat on the train? And how long does it take you to actually start work, given your already hectic morning? Now how do you feel about walking to work?
4. You’ll be more creative
Speaking of work and productivity levels, you may also find that walking to work will help you to become more creative. That’s because you can be musing about the day ahead of you during your amble. So that client call you’ve got at 10am? You’ll already have figured out a solution by the time you get to work. That presentation you’ve been asked to give next Tuesday? You’ve created half of the slides (in your head) already. That’s the great thing about walking to work – you don’t have to worry about anything else, other than putting each foot in front of the other, which gives you ample thinking time. Oh, and maybe look out for passing cars and other pedestrians.
5. You’ll sleep better at night
Do you find yourself feeling shattered every day, only to get into bed and start tossing and turning all night? Well you’ll be relieved to know that it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. I went through a period of not sleeping, and it was truly horrible. The worst part, of course, is having to go to work for a full day, after approximately 22 minutes and 47 seconds of sleep (yes, I counted). The good news is that by getting sufficient fresh air each day (ie walking to work) you’ll allow plenty of oxygen to your brain, keeping you alert during the day. Plus, all of that exercise will send you straight off to the land of nod each night, as soon as your head hits the pillow.
So what are you waiting for? Go and buy yourself some new trainers, because you’ll be doing a lot of pavement pounding from now on.