Your commute can quickly and easily become a huge source of stress. Traffic is an obvious issue, but often the time it takes to get to and from work can cause the most strain. If you spend too much time commuting, it seems like just an extension of the workday, which can throw your work-life balance—and subsequently your mental health—out of whack. If you work in Center City, Philadelphia, you may want to consider buying or renting a Center City condo to shorten your commute to just walking distance. Living close to work in Philadelphia puts you close to where you play, not just where you earn a living. Walking or biking to work may seem like too radical a change to fit into your lifestyle, but give it some thought. You may find there are some benefits you might not want to continue to live without.
Improved Physical Health
We’ve all heard that walking is a great, low-impact way to get a little cardio in. While you don’t want to powerwalk your way into a 9:00 AM meeting and greet your boss with a sweaty handshake, you can still get the benefits of walking without too much exertion. Not only can it burn your calories from lunch, but you’ll also soon notice with regular walking that you don’t feel as worn out as you used to after a full day of work.
It’s also legitimately good for your health, even if you don’t identify as the fitness type. In addition, Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in more than 12,000 people. Among the participants who walked briskly for about an hour each day, the effects of those genes were cut in half. Did you also know that walking boosts immune function? A study of over 1,000 men and women found that people who walked at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who only worked out once a week. The study also concluded that even those who did get sick were sick for shorter periods of time and they experienced milder symptoms.
Improved Mental Health
Living close to work in Philadelphia can even improve your mental health. Research shows that physical activity such as walking actually releases endorphins in the brain, which we all know improves your mood. If your general mood is lighter, your self-esteem is healthier and your motivation increases. All of these things enhance productivity and ultimately increase your quality of work as well as your satisfaction with your work. Walking also helps you be more mindful. Mindfulness is like meditation but doesn’t necessarily require stillness or silence or an empty head. Walking keeps you off your phone and in touch with your surroundings.
Decreased Stress Levels
Regular meditation or mindfulness also does wonders to decrease stress and increase the ability to handle daily stress. According to a study out of the University of East Anglia, individuals who transitioned from driving to work to walking or cycling felt more able to focus and like they were under less overall stress and strain compared to their life experiences before.
Everyone likes to save money. Walking to work keeps you from having to pay for gas, parking, or a monthly subway card. You also may find yourself needing to spend less time at the gym. One thing to try when you make the switch: Put away the money you would have spent on commute-related expenses and see how much you have saved up at the end of three months. You’ll be amazed and inspired to find more ways to curb your spending!
Fuel-powered vehicles are responsible for almost 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Cycling to work for just one day reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 24 pounds, according to one 2008 study. Walking and cycling are some of the cleanest ways to burn fuel, and Earth appreciates all the help she can get!
To some, switching to your own body’s power to get you to and from work might seem like a no-brainer. To others, it likely seems like a huge commitment. Living close to work in Philadelphia is a great first step. Once you’re here, make time to walk to work and do it for a trial period. Regardless of your current level of fitness, after a few days or weeks of walking to and from work, you may find you feel a heck of a lot better in more ways than one.