I am fortunate to live only about a mile from my job but I am not always fortunate in finding a parking spot. I end up competing with a few dozen other employees for limited spaces on the street. Sometimes I am late to work because I cannot find a parking spot and end up parking the equivalent of a few blocks away. Not that I mind the walk.
This week, with my focus on creating a healthier lifestyle, I decided to set yet another goal. I am going to leave the car at home and walk as much as possible.
The journey from my front door to work has a few hills involved which boosts my heart rate up and makes my doctor very happy. Her mantra is, “If you want to lose weight, exercise 30 minutes a day.” She explains that I need to get my heart rate up to the point where I am unable to utter a sentence without taking in air every few words. This is what I am aiming for as I walk to and from work. She also claims that you should walk at least 10,000 steps a day to achieve a healthy, active lifestyle and more than 12,500 steps for a highly active lifestyle. Anything under 5,000 steps is considered sedentary which pretty much describes my lifestyle until now.
In addition to helping me get fit, walking rather than driving conserves money and energy. Since I put $20 of gas in my tank each week and the majority of my travel is to and from work, I estimate that I will save $100 – $120 a month by walking. I also do not have the daily frustration of looking for a parking spot. Another big plus is that my employer encourages using alternative transportation to work and rewards participating employees with a weekly raffle. Each day you walk, bike or carpool to work gets you a ticket to the raffle. Prizes are usually gift cards to businesses around the community. A few years ago I won a gift certificate to a sporting goods store. The certificate allowed me to purchase a good pair of walking shoes.
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Bring water to drink on the way.
- Stretch before and after as needed.
- Bring a change of clothing on hot or humid days.
- Take your time and enjoy the world around you. Walking can be a great stress reliever.
To read more about Brett’s walking adventures and to see how he tracks the money he saves by walking and biking rather than driving, check out the Frugal Ideas page of this blog under “Alternative Energy – People Powered.”