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5 Commuting Hacks to Benefit Your Health and the Environment

Photo: Courtesy of Corey Agopian

Two of the biggest issues facing the country today — climate change and obesity —are daunting, to say the least. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and nearly one-third are obese. Just as frightening is the fact that NASA has calculated that Earth’s temperature has risen .7 degrees Celsius in the last decade alone.

Luckily, if you drive to work, altering your mode of travel can lead to major benefits for both your environment and your waistline. Here are a handful of ways to get started.

1. Commute by carpooling

What better way to start your day than by saving on gas money and chatting with friends? That’s why it’s no surprise that carpooling is one of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s top recommendations for reducing carbon emissions through commuting.

2. Take your other set of wheels for a spin

Several U.S. cities, including New York City and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, have spearheaded initiatives to help make their communities more bike-friendly by creating bike share programs and adding bike racks to public buses, according to the American Public Transportation Association. If you have a set of wheels, consider pedaling to work — in lieu of driving — to reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Walk to work

Walking is one of the easiest ways to fit in fitness, lower your gas bill and promote environmentally friendly behavior. If you’re within walking distance of your office, hop to it. Doing so will help you engage with your community and even boost your happiness, as studies show people report greater levels of life satisfaction with more outdoor exposure.

4. Use public transportation

Many cities have local buses, trains and ferries to help commuters get to their desired destinations. Take advantage of these options and other up-and-coming modes of transportation, like boats in city waterways, which New York has launched.

5. If possible, work from home

More and more companies are offering the option to work from home, which can help you make healthier choices, like getting enough sleep and whipping up a home-cooked meal, while also refraining from travel at all. If you can, take advantage of the option, as your body and your world will thank you. 

Melinda Carstensen, [email protected]

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