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Healthy Living Begins With Morning CommutePrint

Thriving Communities | November 8, 2013 | By James Bruckbauer

In the Grand Traverse region, our long-distance commutes are having a big impact on our health. In fact, most Grand Traverse area workers spend about 46 minutes a day sitting alone in their cars traveling to and from work.

The Michigan Land Use Institute has released a new fact sheet to illustrate exactly how our commutes are affecting our health. It’s the second fact sheet in a series that describes the impact transportation habits have on our time, wallets, and health. The project is part of Local Motion, a new northwest Michigan program for improving transportation choices in the Grand Traverse region.  

A few startling facts:

  • The average person only walks about 6 minutes a day.

  • 30 minutes a day walking will burn 250 calories, or enough to lose 1/2 lb a week.

  • Adding a short walk, even to your nearest bus stop, into your commute is a great way to reach the recommended daily exercise without stepping foot in a gym.

Want to join others who are discovering healthy ways to boost their commutes?

  • Try multi-season cycling: If you’re a summer biker, try two wheels in the winter. You just might enjoy the exhilarating morning commute.

  • Find “park-once” districts: Walking to several destinations is good, hassle-free exercise. Hopefully your community builds things close together so you can park your car once and walk to where you need to go.

  • Ask your public officials to build safe streets: Communities should provide bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets that are safe, comfortable, and attractive.

Through Local Motion, we’re dedicated to helping companies figure out how they can offer more transportation choices to their employees.  If you’re interested, contact me to figure out how we can help.

James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at james@mlui.org.