Finding the time to fit exercise into our day is no easy task. We are constantly juggling work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. And if that’s not enough, throw in a long commute and you can forget about your health and the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
Fortunately, many of us living and working in the Washington, D.C. region can integrate physical activity into our day seamlessly and without using up extra time. How, you ask? Take transit!
According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Americans who walk to and from public transit spend an average of 19 minutes daily walking and are, therefore, more likely to meet the recommended level of daily physical activity than individuals who do not take transit.
And transit options are one asset the DC region enjoys! Walk Score, an online service that rates the walkability and transit-friendliness of neighborhoods, ranked the 25 best American cities for public transit using a method called Transit Score. Transit Score measures how well a location is served by public transportation using open data released by local public transit agencies. Washington D.C. placed at number four out of 25, with a Transit Score of 69 of 100, which translates as "good transit".
Of course, walking to and from public transportation is only one way to fit exercise into your day. You
can also sneak in some steps while you’re at work, as described in this story from National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” entitled “Is It Possible to Walk and Work at the Same Time?”
Take a listen and think about your day, from door to door. Then check out this list and pick out some tips that might help you pick up the pace during work day:
• Get off the bus a stop or two before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way.
• Use the farthest entrance into your workplace from your train or bus stop, and walk through the building to your work area.
• If you must drive, park in the far back of the parking lot and walk farther to the door.
• Don't stand, pace -- when waiting for the bus, waiting at an elevator, etc., pace around in circles rather than just standing.
• Use the restroom, copy machine, water fountain, break room, etc. that is farther from your work area.
• Take the stairs rather than the elevator, especially for one to three floors, both up and down.
• When people stop to talk with you, make it a moving meeting and walk around together while chatting.
• Before eating lunch, take a 10-minute walking break.
For more ideas on how you can sneak some steps into your day, visit WalkArlington.com.
WalkArlington, an initiative of Arlington County Commuter Services within the Department of Environmental Services, gets "more people walking more of the time" by promoting the health, environmental, community-building, and commuting benefits of walking.