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What Motivates You to Walk or Bike to Work?

It’s tough trying to stay active while juggling work and home responsibilities. Who has the time or energy to squeeze in a gym workout after sitting through bumper to bumper traffic for an hour?

Try walking or biking to work, instead! You’ll be able to avoid rush hour traffic while burning some calories. Plus, there are a lot of health and wellness benefits to staying active. Here are our top 10 reasons why you should get outside and walk or bike to work (at least once a week).

  1. Live longer

    A new study in the British Medical Journal finds that people who bike to work live significantly longer than those who drive or ride transit. Bike commuters were 41% less likely to die during the five-year study period.

  2. Prevent cancer and disease

    The same study also found that bike commuters were less likely to suffer from major health problems like cancer or heart disease.  Similar studies have linked active transportation to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  3. Improve your brain function

    Walking optimizes blood flow to the brain and improves brain function. The relatively light impact of foot to pavement triggers waves of blood flow to the brain even more so than running or biking.

  4. Be more creative

    Walking may lead to more creative thinking than sitting and concentrating at your desk. Research from Stanford University's Graduate School of Education found that college students who walked instead of sitting performed better on tasks such as finding alternative uses for common objects or thinking of analogies for complex ideas – both tests used to measure creative thinking.

  5. Reduce stress

    Research from Montreal confirms that there are real stress-level differences among commuters based on mode. Predictably, drivers were the least happy with their commutes mostly due to unexpected delays. By contrast, walkers were the least-stressed commuters.  Other studies suggest that travel mode cannot only affect your stress during your commute, but also impact your stress levels throughout the day.

  6. Lose weight

    Biking and walking burn calories and can help you shed a few pounds. Studies have shown that men and women who bike or walk to work weigh an average of six or seven lbs. less than their driving counterparts and have significantly lower percentages of body fat.

  7. Save money

    Owning and maintaining a personal vehicle is expensive. You don’t have to ditch your car completely. Biking and walking to work a few times a week can save money on fuel, parking, and general wear-and-tear. See for yourself. Use this free tool to calculate how much money you can save annually by switching to a bike commute.

  8. Lower your carbon footprint

    Choice of commute mode has real impacts on the environment. Burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions. You can lessen the impact of your commute choices on the environment by replacing one or more car trips per week with a sustainable commute mode. Compare your daily carbon emissions to a sustainable alternative here.

  9. Motivate the people around you

    Your healthy commute habits can have a positive influence on partners and coworkers. Studies show that people who have spouses or coworkers who actively commute are more likely to try it themselves.

  10. Get there quicker than you think!

People often complain that walking and biking to work is too time consuming and work is money. However, a study out of Penn State demonstrated that people consistently overestimate how long a walk or bike to work will take them. Consider how much it would take for you to walk or bike to work – or better yet, give it a test run – and compare. Is your commute as long as you predicted? And if so, is the extra time worth some quality thinking, lowering your health risks, and destressing your body at the same time?

Not sure how to get started? Here are some ideas:

  • Use iCommute’s Trip Planner to find the best route. Don’t forget to select the bike and walk icons!
  • Check out iCommute’s bike page for resources and bike safety tips.
  • Try out a shared mobility service, such as bikeshare or electric scooters.
  • Have kids? Walk, Ride, or Roll to school!

Remember, you don’t have to commit to walking or biking every day. Simply incorporating physical activity into your commute a couple times a week will yield some great benefits!