Commuting Can be a Great Thing
How you choose to commute determines the quality of a large chunk of your life
Commuting – we all need to do it, every day. Based on data from the Future of Work Survey, the average Canadian spends 29 minutes commuting each way to work. This means every year the average Canadian spends an additional 30 full-time work days per year just going to and from work. Is this time spent a good or bad thing? I believe how you choose to spend that time is what determines the outcome.
Driving is the obvious choice for commuting. You can leave on your schedule, you can take any route, and you can listen to any music you desire. 74% of Canadian choose to commute by car, but is it really the best method? When you drive you need to focus on driving. You are responsible for your own safety and of those around you. When you drive you also need to deal with parking. This may not be a problem for some, but for many parking is hard to find, expensive, or both.
So what are other options? There is public transit, which 12% of Canadians use, or walking and cycling, which nearly 1.1 millions Canadians do. A car can travel much faster than a bike, but is it always faster? On open clear roads, car beats bike all day. However, enter busy and congested urban areas and the situation changes. Average moving speed is much more consistent on a bicycle, especially when there are bicycle routes that allow you to bypass intersections. I know a few people who commute from North Vancouver into downtown Vancouver by bicycle, as it is the quickest and most reliable method. Yes, a car would be faster if no other cars were on the road, but the traffic congestion means the average moving speed of the car may be only 15 km/h!
So a car is not always the quickest, but speed is not the most important factor. Also important is the quality of your commute. If you are stuck in traffic you are probably feeling tense and stressed out. Alternative forms of transportation allow you to completely change your mindset. If you travel by bus or train, the schedules are generally very reliable and easy to plan. If you walk or cycle, traffic congestion has a negligible impact.
When you are not driving your mind is able to relax. Riding public transit provides an opportunity to read that book you’ve been putting off, to have a nap, to do homework, or to work on your creative side. When you are walking or cycling, you are multitasking, getting exercise, fresh air, and de-stressing.
I started commuting by bike 8 years ago. Today, it is one of my favourite parts of the day. As soon as I start my commute I feel relaxed. I feel like a child who is playing, enjoying the moment. The days I drive, I instantly feel anxious, especially if the traffic is heavy. I feel as if I have no freedom in my car. When on my bike it is easy to take any side street, pathway, or shortcut through a park. Riding my bike to work every day allows me to de-stress, focus, and enjoy life.
I spend around 40 minutes each day commuting to and from work, equating to 3.33 hours of exercise each week that I would never get driving my car. But this time is more than just exercise time, it is meditative time. I do a lot of my creative thinking during my commute as my mind is free. I feel inspired during this time. I sing. I think of jokes. I see the world in a different way, removed from the worldly chaos.
How you choose to commute determines the quality of a large chunk of your life. If you don’t enjoy the current way you commute, try a different way. Experiment to see what works best for you and contributes the most to your well-being.
This post was written by Happipad