It’s New Year’s Resolution time, and one of the most popular resolutions is getting in shape.
But what if we told you that you don’t need to get a gym membership, buy a treadmill, or start an implementing an elaborate workout plan? You just need to implement simple, consistent habits, and public transit can help.
You already have a way to get to and from work, the grocery store, and your kid’s karate class. Your mode of transportation is a habit, whether you walk, drive or take the bus.
According to the book The Slight Edge, “There are two kinds of habits: those that serve you, and those that don’t.”
You can make your mode of transportation serve you by also making it part of your workout routine.
In many decent sized cities, most people live about ¼ mile away from a public transit stop. If you walk to the bus stop, then from the bus stop to your place of work, and reverse the trip on the way home, you’ll achieve a mile of walking per day. According to livestrong.com, while walking one mile “a 135-pound (61kg) person burns about 78 calories per mile, while a 165-pound (75kg) person burns about 96 calories during a walk of the same speed and length.”
If 96 calories doesn’t sound like much to you, you can do a few things to increase that number. Walking faster, walking up hills, and adding light hand weights are all ways to burn more calories.
Of course, getting fit isn’t just about burning calories. Increasing flexibility improves circulation and posture, and reduces stress and risk of injury. You can do cat-cow poses, tree poses, and shoulder shrugs right on the bus or train.
That walk to and from the public transit stop will also get you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, which can be especially hard if you work during all of the winter daylight hours. Sunshine is thought to cause your brain to release a hormone called serotonin, which can help ward off depression. Sunshine also causes your body to create vitamin D, which is important for bone health.
While using your public transit trip as your workout routine might not prepare you for the Olympics or give you the physique of a body builder, it does have the benefits of being easy to implement. Often our elaborate plans sound great on paper, but our motivation quickly fades. Implementing small steps, consistently, as part of a larger habit, is key to making lifestyle changes that actually stick long term.
If you’re already taking public transit, that’s a great start! If not, get your local bus or light rail schedule and start getting healthier today.