I am fortunate to live only about a mile from my job but in the past, I wasn’t as fortunate in finding parking spots. I would end up competing with a few dozen other employees for limited spaces on the street. Sometimes I would wind up being late to work because I couldn’t find a parking spot and would have to park blocks away.
When I began to focus on creating a healthier lifestyle through weight loss and exercise, I decided to set another goal. To get myself moving, save money and conserve energy, I resolved to leave my car at home and walk to work.
There are many rewards to walking. The journey from my front door to work has a few hills involved which boosts my heart rate and makes my doctor very happy. Her mantra seems to be, “If you want to lose weight, exercise 30 minutes a day.” She explained to me that I needed 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 aim 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 was a pretty accurate description of my lifestyle until I started my weight loss journey.
Good For the Environment and Your Budget
In addition to helping me get fit, walking rather than driving conserves money and energy. I calculate that I save around a $100 a month by walking since generally I would put $20 worth of gas in my tank each week with the majority of my travel being to and from work. Another bonus is I no longer have the daily frustration of looking for a parking spot.
I am lucky in 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. I won a gift certificate to a sporting goods store. The certificate allowed me to purchase a good pair of walking shoes.
To calculate how much money I save by walking to work, I use this simple calculation: 30 mph = 1 mile or a 15 minute walk. My vehicle gets 28 to 32 mpg so I average that out to 30 mpg to make tracking my savings easier. The price of gas today is $2.89 a gal. Walking 2 miles per day or 10 miles per week means that I save $28.90 per week or $115.60 a month. Results vary with the fluctuating price of gas. If you bike to work, Bicycle Universe has a calculator on their site that helps you determine how much money you save by riding a bike rather than owning a car. Either way, using alternative “people powered” modes of transportation is good for you health, your bank account and the environment. It’s the way to go.