Get fit and Save Money
By: Maureen Dwight, Clinic Director, Registered Physiotherapist & Musculoskeletal Clinical Specialist

  • Want to get healthy and save money!
  • Having trouble finding time for exercise?

In our crazy-busy lives it’s hard to exercise but you may be able to find the time if you can make it part of something you are already doing.  With a little bit of planning you can get your fitness simply by going to work and depending on how far you have to travel you may even be able to save some money.

Lately I found that I had been avoiding the gym and I knew that I needed to get back to an exercise routine.  With the weather getting better I decided to try walking to work and found that it took no longer than my transportation options.  We all know that right now in Toronto transportation is a problem.  Whether you drive or take the TTC the reality is that most of us now add in extra time for delays.  I plan for 30 minutes even though my subway ride typically takes 15. If I take the car, by the time I park it still takes me 15 minutes to get into the office.

I am in love with the data I get from my activity tracker so on my first day I activated the GPS and clocked the distance from home to work at 1.66 miles.  My time was a respectable 20 minutes (12 1/2 minute mile) which means I met my minimum daily active minute goal[1].  At almost 4000 steps I was already at ½ of the recommended 8,000-10,000 steps.  The bonus to meeting these fitness goals is that I can also be sure that there will be no unforeseen delays and I am saving on my TTC fare or my parking charges.

I am lucky to live so close to work but if your journey is longer consider walking part of the way.  Plan to get off the subway a few stops earlier or park further away to ensure a longer walk into the office, the restaurant or the grocery store.

The pro’s of this approach are obvious:

  1. You get fitter and feel better
  2. The time investment is minimal
  3. You save money

Managing the cons:

  1. If you carry a lot of things to work:

Consider a well-fitting back pack or a bag with a messenger strap to reduce the strain on your body.

Be ruthless about purging your purse or your bag.

Instead of transporting your laptop, use the Cloud or a flashdrive to transport data.

If you like to take your lunch, plan to drop off the heavier items once a week i.e. fruit, drinks.

  1.  If you hate to get sweaty before work and there’s no shower

Try one of those wet-wipe products on the sweatier bits and pack a small towel to freshen up in the washroom.

Plan your walk for the end of the day so you can shower when you get home.

 

  1. If you always get pain/injured when you start a fitness program

Start slowly.  Try 10 minutes twice a day.  Get off only one subway stop earlier or try walking just to the coffee shop.

If this doesn’t work then see your physiotherapist as almost everyone should be able to comfortably walk 30 minutes a day.  An assessment may show that the solution is simple.  Advice on stretching, targeted strength exercises or a simple change in shoe wear may be all that you need to get on track.

 


[1] 20-30 minutes depending on intensity