Is going to your destination in a car really a comfortable experience? Or are you trading physical comfort with mental comfort? A recent study by McGill University stated that those who commute by bicycle or simply walk their way to work are more likely to be satisfied when compared to those who commute by car.
Well, how can you be satisfied while you are driving a car on a busy city road, stuck in the middle of a long traffic jam, waiting to move forward, and looking at every single person who walks past you? This isn’t a rare occurrence for most of us who commute by car, and it invariably makes us jealous. But wait, this isn’t all. Apparently, there are many more reasons for the car commuters to be more jealous of the people who do incidental movement by preferring to go by bicycle or walk their way to work. Let’s take a look at them:
The troubles of owning and maintaining a car
The first thing that differentiates car from our legs is that a car isn’t free of cost. Most of us buy our cars on loan, which usually takes away a good part of our monthly incomes.
Second, cars don’t run for free. They need fuel, which is becoming more and more expensive every day.
Third, having a new car with you, you are constantly worried about it being damaged in any way. Moreover, you have to pay extra to somebody to make your car look good all the time.
Fourth, you also have to take your car for servicing. And once you are done with the loan thinking that the car won’t give you any trouble now, suddenly there comes a problem with its machinery. It consumes both your time and peace of mind.
Health benefits of Incidental Movement
Incidental movement isn’t a new type of exercise like HIIT that your gym trainer would advise you to do. It is a lifestyle, and a very healthy one too. According to a lengthy research by British Medical Journal carried on for five years, a bicycle commuter is almost half as likely of developing or of dying from heart diseases and cancer. And contrary to the popular opinion, a cycle commuter is also less prone to accidents and twice as safer than a car commuter.
Most of us live a very sedentary life. We only keep an hour or so every day for our physical activities, which is mostly about going to the gym. Because of the contrast between most part of our sedentary daily life and the robust physical activities we do at the gym, we keep gym at a lower degree of preference, and more often than not we miss it and feel guilty of not going.
Do you know, according to a study conducted in United States Census Bureau, an average person spends 51 minutes in commuting, compared to the 17 minutes of fitness activities everyday. That means if you find a healthy option of commuting like cycling or walking, you would be working out everyday for twice as long.
Even while travelling by a shared taxi, a bus, or a subway, you have to walk your way to the bus stop, the taxi stand or the subway station. That also counts as a daily physical activity and might lead you to long-term health benefits.
Why incidental movement is a greener option?
Transportation is the cause of 31% of carbon dioxide emissions in the US. This statistic doesn’t involve the emissions during the manufacturing of vehicles. That would make it even worse. 24 lbs of CO2 is released into the atmosphere for every gallon of gas that is burned. Commuting by a bike, walking or going by public transport can help you in saving hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide everyday.
In heavily polluted cities like New Delhi, to keep air pollution under control during winters, the Government is forced to make people use their cars only on alternative days. Events like these are painful reminders to us that environmental issues aren’t like fictional fables that one only finds in a paper. They are real, and our future generations are most likely to see the worst of them.
How to make incidental activity a part of your daily life?
If you have realised that owning a car in most of the cases does more bad than good, it is time for you to make the switch. But, it isn’t easy as that. One of the worst facts about life is that good habits are so easy to leave, and bad ones so easy to develop. Incidental activity is a good habit with many health benefits, and to make it a part of your healthy lifestyle, you must follow certain steps.
Don’t buy a bicycle borrow it
Buying a bicycle and thinking that you’d ride it is like imagining that your new shoes would make you fit. Don’t bother about it right now. Thanks to health resolutions left unfulfilled, one is very likely to have a friend who has bought a bicycle and doesn’t use it at all. Just borrow a cycle from such a friend and return it to him or her after one month or so, once you have maintained a regular routine. If you want to buy something, buy a facemask for air pollution.
Unfuel your car
This one is just for the stubborn ones. If you think you just can’t give up commuting by car, drive it till the fuel is done, and leave it in the parking. Don’t worry, if there’s an emergency you can always drag your car to the nearest filling station. Do it at least till you have a steady routine.
Use social media to your advantage
While traveling by a car, the most you can share on your daily social media stories is the agony of being stuck in a jam. But once you are on a bicycle or on your feet, you can always stop by when you see something interesting, click a picture and post it as your daily story. This would not only keep you determined, it would also motivate others to adopt a healthy lifestyle.