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5 ways to make your commute healthier

Spend your mornings stuck in traffic or sitting on packed public transit? Here’s how to use your travel time to sneak in some healthy acts every day

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yoga downward dog stretch

Strike a yoga pose before and after driving

Use yoga as a tool to balance your body before and after a long commute in your car.

Before you leave for work, do downward dog pose. Downward dog releases tension in the spine and stretches out the back of legs – which is the exact opposite of what sitting in a car does. (For instructions on how to do it properly, check out this article.)

When you arrive at the office parking lot, do a standing forward bend to stretch your back and legs and counteract any hunching you did on your commute.

Start with your legs hip-distance apart. Exhale and bend forward from your waist, keeping your spine as long as possible, while reaching your hands towards your feet. Breathe deeply in and out five times.

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bike share

Try a bike sharing program

If you live relatively close to your office, but don’t want to commit to biking to work every day, take advantage of bike sharing programs across Canada, which give you the option to bike home occasionally. In Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, Bixi bikes have over 5000 bikes at 450 stations. Vancouver plans to roll out their own bike share program in 2014. If your city doesn’t offer one, consider buying a bike and commuting one day a week on your wheels – it might just become your new healthy routine.

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commute subway

Get off a stop early or park further away

Yes, it’s convenient to go from the door of your house to the door of your office, but if you sit all day, it’s a good idea to move more when you have the chance. Start small by getting off the bus or subway one stop early and walking the rest of the way, or parking your car in the furthest spot in the lot. Work your way up to getting off two stops early, or parking in a lot that’s further from your office. Tip: Don’t forget to bring the appropriate footwear.

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woman with smoothie

Bring a smoothie

If you need to drive to work, that’s fine – just don’t hit the drive thru on the way. Instead, invest in a portable smoothie cup and make a healthy smoothie to bring on the road. Try our green smoothie recipes to sneak in a serving of veggies, and don’t forget these healthy smoothie add-ins.

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Strange as it sounds, your commute can actually provide some much needed “me-time,” especially if it’s the only chance you have to be alone. Don’t let traffic jams and packed buses get in the way of it. Instead, use this time to unabashedly sing aloud to your favourite songs in the car (we love this great Canadian playlist), catch up on your reading with an audio book (Game of Thrones, anyone?) or listen to a soothing CD or meditation guide.

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