Let Smart Commute Week Kick Off Your Active Summer
With warmer weather washing over the state, now’s the perfect time to change up the way you get to work.
Smart Commute Week kicks off the first week in June and encourages workers to ditch their automobiles in favor of walking, biking or taking the bus. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is sponsoring events to encourage active commuting in Traverse City and Petoskey.
“The whole idea is one less car on the road, community health and getting people moving and active,” said Brian Beauchamp, Outreach and Program Director with Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails.
By moving your body to get yourself to the office, you’ll cut fuel costs, contribute to a more environmentally sound community and get a healthy start to your day, burning calories and toning muscles as you go.
Incremental activity such as commuting to work is one of the best ways to fit regular exercise into your schedule, said Mark Fenton, a national public health, planning and transportation consultant, as well as the author of the best-selling “Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness”. He’ll be speaking at a kickoff breakfast that’s open to the public on Monday, June 1 at Oryana Natural Foods Market in Traverse City.
Fenton said everyone knows they should be physically active, they just aren’t. Sedentary jobs only compound the problem of inactivity.
“Work used to mean physical activity, now work is largely sedentary,” Fenton said.
He advocates for public and private policy that encourages active design elements in a community as a way to encourage more physical activity overall. Having a robust sidewalk and trail system, as well as providing parks and other outdoor settings for people to use sets them up to naturally get more exercise in their daily lives, Fenton explained.
The benefit isn’t confined to the people exercising more. Fenton said cities and communities who’ve adopted walkable design as how they do things enjoy more resilient home values and a greater desire for people to locate there.
A reliable mass transit system, such as the Bay Area Transportation Authority, is also key in helping to make active commuting a reality.
“What transit does is fill in the gaps,” Fenton said.
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