A daily commute can sometimes take a toll on your physical and mental health. In this post for talkhealth, I will be sharing some helpful tips on how to have a healthier and happier commute.
Be more active
If your commute is short enough, consider walking or biking to work. This is a simple and free way to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. If you live too far away from work, you could try getting off a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking has many health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Take the train
If walking or biking isn’t for you, taking the train has been shown to lead to a healthier life than driving due to an average of 30 minutes spent walking to and from the station meeting the recommended amount of moderate aerobic activity.
Use the quiet carriage
If you’re not expecting an important call, try to refrain from using technology on your way to work. Instead of getting a head start on responding to work emails, take a moment and use the time for yourself. Depending on how you commute, you may have the option of a quiet carriage where talking, taking phone calls or listening to loud music are discouraged. We often overwork ourselves and a little downtime can go a long way. Not only does it contribute to lowering your stress by allowing for relaxation, but it can also give you a little boost when it comes to creativity.
Take a nap
While you’ve got someone else’s eyes on the road, use this chance to take a quick nap. While this may not help much if you’re sleep deprived, taking a short nap on your commute has been shown to make you feel more alert and increase productivity. It’s worth noting that before you doze off, set a timer to make sure you don’t miss your stop.
Keep it cool
Some things can trigger an angry outburst during your commute, like when someone takes the last seat on the tube or a driver cuts in front of you. However, try to remain calm and courteous to other commuters, even when it’s difficult to be, as this will help promote a positive mindset. One strategy that can be useful is the practice of mindfulness. It’s also important to note that in the two hours after having an angry outburst, your risk of having a heart attack doubles. You can prevent these outbursts by identifying what triggers an outburst and then working out how to change your response.
Healthy snacks and water
Take some healthy snacks for your commute that travel well. Try packing a trail mix, some pieces of fruit, or a homemade smoothie to keep your hunger satisfied on your way to work and help you to attain your fruit and veg intake goals for the day. You should also take a bottle of water along with you as this is a cheap and healthy way of quenching your thirst and staying hydrated.
Dr Faiza Khalid is a GP for the MedicSpot private doctor service