This goes out to all the walkers out there. Our program manager gets to walk to work for her commute. Check out what her experience is like plus her tips and tricks!
Do we have any walkers out there? I currently live conveniently close to work so I have the opportunity to walk for my commute. While it may seem like a simple concept, there certainly are a few tips I picked up along the way after walking .73 miles to and from work each day this past year that I thought were worth sharing:
- Rain or shine: dress for the weather, bring extra clothes and dress in layers. Nothing is worse (well a lot of things could be worse) but as far as walking goes – having the wrong shoes or being over or under dressed can really set you up for a tough day ahead.
Lessons learned: Last fall, I wanted to walk across the park to take a different way. I thought the grass looked dry, but after it had rained I took a gamble and trudged through the grass only to find I had sunken through the grass and mudded up my satin flats. Whoops. A pair of rain boots or duck shoes is never a bad idea for those winter months (November through May). Not to mention those humid mornings when I find myself running a few minutes late and booking it across town; my blazer weighted me down and making me feel sticky— I just wish I had a different shirt to change into at work.
Tip: There is no shame in wearing a pair of athletic shoes with a skirt and an extra T-shirt and then changing into nicer clothes when you get to work. Sometimes I just leave an extra shirt and a stick of deodorant in my desk at work; it can come in handy.
- The essentials: An umbrella, a raincoat, sunglasses and a backpack. You never want to get caught in the rain but it’s best to just plan on it (then it never happens, right?) I like my backpack because it evenly distributes the weight across my back and I don’t have a sling bag or a purse weighing me down on one side. Plus, when it doesn’t rain you can stash your coat and umbrella and extra pair of shoes in your backpack. I actually just keep my purse in my backpack and then take that when I jet out for lunch.
- Bright clothing and flashing lights are your friends. The winter months can be DARK. Try some neon clothing colors to boost your visibility. I like to keep a yellow flashing light on my backpack just to be seen when I cross the street. Cross at crosswalks and always make eye contact with the driver if you are crossing in front of a vehicle. I have found that “defensive walking”, similar to defensive driving has kept me in a safer spot more times than not.
The best part? Getting my body moving! I love the exercise I get just from walking for 15 minutes early in the morning and while winding down after a day of work. It isn’t an intense work out but I get to move.
The bottom line is walking is fun. Just like all commutes – there are down sides, but I try to remember that it’s good for my community to leave my car at home (especially being less than a mile away) and it’s good for me. I love seeing familiar faces of people running or walking their dogs. It makes me feel connected to my community just being able to see familiar strangers on a regular basis, and interact with shops and restaurants as a walker, not a driver.
Even if you aren’t able to walk to work, is there a place you could walk to? Walking is a great way to see your neighborhood in a different way. Maybe start with walking to lunch or walking during lunch. Take a coworker out for a walk and you might get to know them better and get to see your work environment a different way.
Stay dry, stay comfortable and get out and get some exercise! What did you see on your walk today?
TransManage and On The Move Bellevue
Take the August walking challenge: How far do you walk in a day? Have you ever tracked it? Summer is the best time to get out and enjoy the sunshine: whether you’re walking to work, walking to the park, running errands, biking to a meeting or taking kids to a play date. Take on the walking challenge during the month of August and log every walk trip you take*. If you could have driven but decided to walk: log your trip on your www.OnTheMoveBellevue.org calendar and earn a chance to win a Fitbit Flex. It’s a simple concept. Stay safe and see you out walking the walk!
*Log at least 8 walking trips to be entered to win.