Anytime you can, get out of that steel coffin! We sit, sit, sit, for hours at a time. We use drive thru banks, we use drive thru coffee shops, and of course, we get our fast food all without having to leave our comfy cars. Our society has become so automobile centric that many people don't stop to consider the health costs of all this sitting, nor do we consider the fact that we have options. The ultimate would be if you could sell your car and bike everywhere but that is practical for less than 1% of America's population. Given our poor rail and public transit systems, cars are pretty much required for modern life except in a few urban centers like New York and San Francisco. Big changes in health come from small lifestyle changes.
Lets look at how you can make a few small changes in your driving behavior that can add up to BIG changes in bodyfat and health:
- Do not use drive thru windows!!! Get out of the car and walk. Its "only 5 minutes" of walking you say? Well all those 5 minutes add up! Losing weight and keeping it off is easily done with a lot of little, very easy changes in lifestyle and this is one of them.
- When you park in a parking lot, park as far from the front door as you can. Dont be one of those people who drives around the lot for 5 minutes looking for a spot near the entrance! Often times its actually a time saver to park at the back of the lot and walk because you avoid all the congestion. Again, its 'only' 5 minutes of walking ... but it adds up!
- At home when you need a quick something from the store, dont automatically grab the car keys. Why cant you ride your bike or walk to the corner store? So it takes a bit longer, so what. Time spent in the car is wasted time when it comes to health. By walking 10 minutes to the store instead of taking a 5 minute drive you are actually saving time because thats 10 less minutes you have to ride the stationary bike at the gym!
- If you drive to the gym, you really should consider biking there. Biking is a great warmup and although biking takes longer, you save time because you can skip your cardio at the gym.
- If you get stuck in rush hour traffic routinely getting to and from work, you are wasting valuable workout time! If you are sitting on a freeway in stop and go traffic then pull off, get your bike out of the trunk, and go for a ride until traffic clears! While we are on the subject, consider alternative ways you could get to work without your car. Bike commuting is a lot more practical than most people realize. Consider bus too. The bus may take longer but you can work on the bus and all the walking to and from bus stops will save you from wasting time doing cardio at the gym :)
Consider getting an urban horse type of bike. These heavy duty racks and bags greatly expand the utility of bikes and make them suitable for many more shopping trips. This is the "Transport" made by Trek but lots of companies make these now. With the big bags and sturdy rack, bike shopping is easy.