One of the best parts of chilly winter mornings is being able to revel in those “five extra minutes” and slowly easing into the day with a warm cup of hot cocoa (or coffee) in hand. A pleasant wake-up call sets the tone for the rest of the day. Then, a sense of urgency to get ready for work or school in record time starts creeping in. As you step out on your porch, you debate on how you’ll be getting to work that day: should you drive, walk, or take public transportation?
Choosing one of the latter options means no longer getting behind the wheel, worrying about the car tires failing you, or defrosting windshields. In fact, commuting offers plenty of benefits.
1. A daily dose of Vitamin D
The sun sets earlier during the last quarter of the year, so getting your much needed sunlight becomes a tougher feat. It doesn’t matter if the sun is too low in the sky, even a few minutes will make a difference. Commuting will give you the sun exposure you need (and can handle), compared to staying sheltered behind your tinted car windows.
If your skin's exposure to the cold is unbearable, make up for the lack of sunshine by eating vitamin D infused food such as salmon, tuna, eggs and milk.
2. Morning calisthenics
No one’s stopping you from speed walking to the bust stop. Giving up your chair for the elderly or PWDs and standing for the rest of the journey burns 20-50 calories per hour depending on your body type. Commuting is one of the simplest ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule.
Those few blocks per day will add up, and your weight, diabetes and blood pressure will surely decrease. People who commute via public transportation, walking, or cycling have lower body fat than those who take their private cars daily. The key is to just keep moving.
3. Time to flaunt your style.
Am I the only one who adores dressing up when autumn or winter comes around? I mean, just look at those coats and cozy outfits to choose from. Rather than stripping down layers and feeling slightly self-conscious during the summer, you get to control how many layers you need this season. It’s just a matter of choosing the appropriate materials for the weather. Staying toasty and warm is fashionable and fun.
4. More time for yourself.
Since you have no obligations behind the wheel, your stress levels are lower. Use those 30-minutes of travel time to read a few pages from the novel you’ve been putting off for months, or catering to your social media interactions. The more congested the traffic, the more time you get to sit back and relax.
Keep in mind that the moment you decide to commute, you’ve totally given up control. There’s nothing you can do about Mr. Bus Driver’s speed. After all, he’s just doing his job and making sure everyone reaches their destinations safely.
Give up trying to calculate how much longer it’ll take to get to the office.
5. No more driver defenses
By no longer having to shovel our driveways, scrape ice off car windows and roofs, and installing snow chains, we reduce our risks of injury by almost half. It has been reported by the U.S. department of Transportation that 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. This doesn’t even include incidents such as truck collisions, avalanches and pile-ups.
These statistics prove that the utmost struggles brought about by winter usually revolve around making sure your vehicles can handle the nasty road conditions.
Apparently, 128 million Americans aged sixteen and up commute to work daily. 76% drive alone, 12% carpool, and three percent the bus or walk. There is no doubt that some even consider it the “worst” part of their day. Are you one of them?
6. Scenic shortcuts
The early birds will catch the worm – and the sunrise. Or at least the brightest side of the sun.
Traffic will make you appreciate the little details and unseen beauty you never had time to notice while driving. If you have some extra time, especially on the way home, consider taking a new, more scenic route. Pair it with a new playlist and you’ll immediately feel your dopamine levels (and urge to break out in dance) rise.
A study from the University of East Anglia that surveyed 18,000 passengers revealed that commuters who travelled to work by public transportation were happier. They scored lower on categories of worthlessness, discontent and insomnia compared to those who drove.
Don’t be surprised if you see a sudden increase of bus or train passengers these next few weeks. Before leaving home, remember to double check the weather forecast so you’re well-equipped for the day ahead.
If these still don’t convince you, you’re more than welcome to just choose to change your commute, or adjust your attitude. There’s more to love about winter than just the snowmen you get to build and the seasonal Starbucks drinks.
Tell us in the comments, are you a commuter? Why or why not?
Ayah Danica V. Granada is currently a content writer and editor for Scoopfed. Formerly a student journalist. Full-time writer, part time bibliophile and a TV series hoarder-slash-enthusiast.