The benefits of ditching your car for the morning commute
Getting into your car and hitting the road could well be the key component of your daily commute. It might seem counterintuitive to consider removing your car from the equation, but it could actually benefit you more than you realise. From saving money to boosting your mood, we put together some to the positive impacts of ditching your car for your journey to work.
1. It could boost your mental health
Whether you fall victim to a case of early morning “road rage”, or find yourself losing sanity because you’re right in the middle of those commuter traffic jams, driving to work could actually be negatively impacting your mental health. In fact, one study in the journal Preventive Medicine showed that workers who decided to walk or bike to work saw a vast improvement in their mental wellbeing. The research also revealed evidence of a negative association between riving and physical health, mostly due to a rise in boredom, social isolation and stress.
2. Start your day with some exercise
If you live close to your work, walking is a great way to enjoy some fresh air, and with more cities adopting bike lanes, it’s never been easier to switch your four wheels for two on the morning commute. Plus, you can squeeze in some exercise before you even get to your desk. Some moderate exercise in the morning will wake you up and brighten your day. Furthermore, one study by The Bringham Young University found that people who do some form of exercise in the mornings actually end up being more active all day, which is especially good if you find yourself sat down for long periods of time at work.
3. Save on gas money
Although driving to work might save you some time, it definitely doesn’t save you money. Cutting down how much time you spend the wheel can increase how many pennies you have in your purse. If walking or biking aren’t a viable option for you, then why not hop on public transit? Although it might mean waking up 20 minutes earlier, it also reduces how often you have to fill that tank up.
4. Reduce the cost of insurance
Did you know that removing your car from your daily commute could actually save you money on insurance, too? If you only use your car on the weekends or for the odd trip out of town, then chances are you can apply for a low mileage discount. Most insurers assume the average Canadian driver covers around 20,000km per year, and offers low mileage discount for people that don’t meet this threshold. Rush hour is a peak time for collisions; once you stop driving during the commuter chaos, you lower the risk that you will be involved in an accident.
By waving goodbye to your car Monday to Friday you could see your premium being reduced between 10% and 18% depending on your driving habits.
5. You can use the time to catch up on other activities
We’re constantly being told we should read more, but it can be hard to fit it into a hectic schedule. If you find yourself on the subway or bus for enough time on a morning, why not spend the time catching up on a good book? Get lost in the pages of a good novel and escape from reality for a little bit. Plus, you never know what useful information you might absorb-it could benefit your working day.
If you’ve decided to take a more active approach on your journey to work, you can still enjoy one of your favorite stories in the form of an audio book. Or why not download a podcast? These days there is a podcast for everything, so whether you want to learn something new, or just have a laugh in the morning, there’s bound to be something to satisfy.
If the spoken word isn’t for you, take the time to zone out and listen to some of your favourite music. Most smartphones have the option of a music player, which means you can have your entire discography with you at just the touch of a button.
6. A chance to disconnect
You have a long working day ahead of you, so why not spend some time zenning out. It’s very rare in this fast paced world that we get the chance to just sit down and disconnect rom the world. Put down your newspaper, turn off your cell phone, and spend 30 minutes of your day having some “mental me time”. If you’re someone who likes to meditate, perhaps try doing that. Either way, you will save all of your brain power for those meetings, and arrive at work mentally realigned and ready for a productive day.