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Stop us if this sounds familiar:
You wake up, have breakfast, maybe get the kids ready, and if you’re really lucky you get to squeeze in a quick workout before you’re out the door and on the way to work.
Let’s face it. There’s nothing healthy about the modern-day commute. Whether you’re in the car or the train, commuting is going to add some stress to your life. Studies also show that longer commute times lead to more depression and anxiety. But commuting every day also takes its toll on your body. All those hours spent traveling back and forth is valuable time you could be exercising or cooking healthier meals. High cholesterol, bad blood pressure, and an increased BMI—basically the only thing commutes are good for is catching up on Game of Thrones or listening to your favorite podcast. Everything else about them is just bad for you.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a few of our own road rules that will make your commutes a little healthier, and maybe a little more enjoyable. Maybe.
RULE #1: STAND, DON’T SIT
This rule applies to all you train, metro, and bus commuters. As appealing as that prime window seat might seem, study after study shows that standing is far healthier than sitting. So you might want to consider foregoing an hour of comfort for a healthier start on your day. Plus, you can play Candy Crush just as well standing. We’ve tried, and we can guarantee this.
RULE #2: FIND AN ALTERNATE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION
If you live reasonably close to your office, consider ditching the car or train for a bike, push scooter, or your own two feet. You’ve probably heard this before, but moving under your own power is so much better for you that it can’t be stated often enough. Cities are going out of their way to become more bike and pedestrian friendly. That means it’s never been easier to pedal or walk your way to the office. Sure, you may have to wake up earlier and plan in advance, but the pros far outweigh the cons here.
RULE #3: DISCOVER YOUR OM
Long commutes are guaranteed to frazzle your nerves. Whether you’re driving or on the train, finding mental peace and clarity while you travel can pay dividends throughout the rest of the day. If you’re behind the wheel, PLEASE don’t close your eyes and start to meditate. But you can focus on breathing deeply or listen to soothing music. If you take the train to work, go all-in on meditating. There are several apps, like Headspace that walk you through guided meditation.
RULE #4: PRACTICE MINDFUL EATING
Commuting is stressful. And when we’re stressed, it’s harder to eat well. If you can’t improve your commute time or method, you can improve your approach. Instead of eating out every day or constantly perusing vending machines, pack healthy meals. You’re probably thinking this is easier said than done, and you’re right. But with healthy eating, a little extra effort can go a long way. Weekly meal prep on Sundays can provide you with a week’s worth of healthy meals. Another trick: take go-to junk food snacks and assign each of them an equally delicious but healthier alternative. Instead of packing that Snickers bar, try celery sticks and peanut butter. Okay, maybe not quite as delicious, but you get the picture.
RULE #4: TURN OFF THE TECHNOLOGY
If there’s one thing in life we probably need less of, it’s technology. Between our phones, computers, televisions, and tablets, we’re rarely not in front of a screen. Instead of using your commute time to check your likes, consider checking out instead. Use that extra time to read, think, or even talk (gasp!) to the person sitting next to you.
RULE #5: LIMBER UP
You’re heading into the car or about to get on the train, and chances are you’re going to spend the next 8-10 hours sitting. Before you head off to work, take a few minutes to stretch. Specifically, it’s probably a good idea to focus on your hip flexors and chest—sitting’s biggest victims.
RULE #6: GET UP 10 MINUTES EARLIER
Ok, we know this is probably the last thing you want to hear. Getting up early stinks. Getting up even earlier stinks that much more. Think about it this way: commutes are often the most stressful part of our days. Make them a little less anxiety ridden by adding more cushion to your commute time. If you don’t feel rushed, you won’t worry as much. Less worrying is good for your health.
RULE #7: LEARN SOMETHING NEW
According the U.S. Census Bureau, American’s commute 26 minutes each way to work. Spread that out over five days a week, 50 weeks a year, and it comes to a whopping 29.6 billion hours spent commuting. Instead of doing something productive with our commute times, however, we end up playing games and staring at our phones. Put your commute hours to good use. Learn a new language, read good books, or keep a journal. There are hundreds of ways to put those hours to good use.
RULE #8: SHORTEN IT UP
Of course, the most important rule for healthier commutes is to create a shorter commute. Ask your employer if you can telecommute one or two days a week. OR you could work from home every day of the week buy building an incredible LifeVantage business from home. Just saying…