One of our greatest passions is integrating exercise into our everyday life. Viewing exercise as a separate “task” does not always work well for us, and can make the exercise stressful instead of stress relieving.
For example: My son had a soccer game at 8am Saturday. This meant the four of us needed to be leaving around 7:30am, dressed and fed. Saturdays are usually a running morning for me and sometimes a bike ride morning for my husband. We didn’t know exactly how to fit both of these activities in before our 8am commitment.
This is where exercise as transport can solve this dilemma. My husband woke up early and decided to use his bike ride time to also run an errand at our local grocery store….our weekly hunt for fresh ground almond butter!
When he returned, I was inspired and decided to dual purpose my running time as well. I left the house at 7:20am and decided to run 2.7 miles to my son’s soccer game instead of driving. My son was concerned I would be late for the game, but I assured him I would not miss a second. After accidentally joining a 5k on the bike path (oops!), I picked up the pace and made my final turn towards his soccer field. As I entered the final stretch of my run, my husband and kids passed me in the car honking, waving, cheering, and smiling. It was a moment I will never forget, and it was a moment I could not get on my typical early morning run.
Choosing to run as transportation showed my children how exercise is part of everyday life and showed them it does not have to detract from our time together. I got to the game the same time as they did and enjoyed the game even more after the run.
That is one of the many benefits of exercise as transportation, it enhances experiences. When you get to your destination or event it doesn’t matter what happens….because you already experienced so much along the way.
Here are some other benefits we have found:
- The exercise does not feel like work because it is purposeful.
- Environmental benefits of not using our car.
- Integration of exercise into life so there are not always separate “buckets” (family, gym, work, etc…it can all blend together)
- Little need for a gym membership. (I have not had one in two years)
- Gas savings (when using exercise instead of car)
- Enhances the experience or activity (as mentioned above)
- Must rely on yourself and hold yourself accountable, because if you stop you will not get to your destination! Other runs/bike rides/workouts where there is no destination you can stop short or give up early.
So the next time you need to workout but aren’t sure where to fit it in, ask yourself can any of my routines become exercise?
If you have children in school, walk or run to school pick up. This can be done with a jogging stroller too if you have a younger child at home. I can tell you from experience you will be sweaty and a little out of breath, but you won’t be sitting in your car going insane.
You can do it, it can be fun, and it can make exercise part of your life instead of one more thing on your to-do list!