lifestyle

"I changed my morning commute and it's completely changed my mindset."

 Image: iStock.

I’m a big advocate for public transport. I don’t own a car, and the thought of riding a bike in Sydney strikes terror into my soul, so buses and trains are my lifeline.

However, my daily commute also has a habit of sending my stress levels through the roof. Thanks to the unholy union of crawling traffic, the pass-agg antics of other passengers and the blessing of motion sickness, my head will be all over the place by the time I reach the office.

The remedy to all this? My feet — using them to walk to work, that is, not to kick the manspreader sitting next to me on the bus (tempting as it is).

Whenever possible, I undertake the 50 minute walk from my home to my office. It requires a lot of organisation and the sacrifice of maybe 10 minutes’ sleep on my part, but it can make a difference to my entire day.

A lot of people swear by meditation as a stress remedy – here’s a guide from Paper Tiger. (Post continues after video.)

First of all, it’s a two-birds-one-stone situation, improving my fitness and keeping my organs healthy while getting me where I need to be. The walk also gives me adequate time to mentally prepare or brainstorm ideas for the day ahead, catch up on podcasts, or listen to the news without distractions. Plus, it doesn’t cost a thing.

Yet the greatest benefit comes when I actually get to work.

Sure, I usually arrive a little sweaty and out of breath (I walk really fast, okay?), but I’ll always be more alert, on my game and capable of dealing with stressful curve balls than those days when I roll in off the bus. (Post continues after gallery.)

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In fact, on my walking days I often forget to buy my morning coffee, because it never really seems necessary. And speaking of stress, walking home at the end of the day (with a high-energy playlist) is a brilliant way to work through it all and unwind.

Clearly, I’m a bit evangelical about walking to work, but I’m not the only one. Today is Walk to Work Day, a Diabetes Australia initiative aiming to raise funds for diabetes research and promote the myriad health benefits of getting around on your own two feet.

Of course, walking all the way to work isn’t going to be an option for everyone, especially where there’s a considerable distance to travel. However, there are ways to incorporate more footwork into your working day.

Riding to work also has its benefits.

Diabetes Australia has a few suggestions:

  1. If you can't walk all the way, use public transport and get off the bus, train, tram or ferry a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.
  2. If you need to drive, try to leave the car at least a kilometre from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  3. Take a half-hour walk at lunchtime.
  4. Where possible use the stairs rather than escalators or the lift.
  5. If you sit a lot at work, remember get up and walk around at least once every hour. Get up and talk to your colleagues instead of sending them emails.
  6. Instead of holding meetings sitting down, try to hold "walking workshops"

You know what to do.

Do you ever walk to work?

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