With BeUpstanding™, we’re always trying to incorporate ways to stand up, sit less, and move more throughout the day. While we often think about sitting less in the workplace, another time to reduce sitting is on the way to the workplace.
Around 78% of Australians commute by car. Sitting in the car can lead to negative health outcomes especially with longer commutes. Commuting distance is associated with increased body fat and decreased fitness level. Active commuting (walking or cycling) on the other hand, is associated with a greater fitness level, healthier body weight, and a decreased risk for heart disease.
We can all think of some barriers to active commuting. However, there are easy steps to overcome these barriers. For example, you don’t have to walk to work all the way from home. Instead, get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. You can also try parking further from the office to increase your step count.
Cycling can seem intimidating thanks to hills along your commute route. Electric assist e-bikes can help. These bikes provide motor assistance when you pedal so that it feels like you’re always riding with the wind at your back. Even with the motor assistance, commuting with an e-bike has been shown to increase fitness level and decrease diabetes risk.
Need another reason to try active commuting? Active commuting can help you meet recommended levels of physical activity (all without you going to the gym or setting aside time specifically for exercise). This means if you were inspired by the Commonwealth athletes to gain some fitness, active commuting can be a great step towards achieving that goal.
With the start of Autumn and decreasing temperatures, it’s the perfect time to try moving more during your commute. Enjoy the cooler weather, get to know your city better, and get a little healthier in the process!
This post was written by Dr James Peterman, an Endeavour grant recipient, who is assisting with the BeUpstanding™ project.