Healthy Mind

Jenni Falconer: Change Up Your Commute

This month, our woman pounding the pavements tells us how we can make more of the warm weather on our way to and from work

One great thing about this time of year is the weather – it brings longer days, lighter mornings and warmer evenings. It’s the season for breakfast in the garden, lunch breaks in the park and, without doubt, it,s time to switch up your regular commute.

You should know that I’m typing this month’s column on my phone, while sitting in a crammed train carriage. By some sheer stroke of luck, the lady sitting on the seat next to where I was standing (sadly under someone’s deodorant-free armpit – eugh!) vacated her spot and offered it to me. Obviously, I had a look around for anyone who might need the seat more than me but there were no takers, so I grabbed the opportunity. It was at that moment that I questioned why I was there in the first place.

Door-to-door, from work to my house, is about seven miles. The journey takes around 40 minutes by public transport. If I run, it takes approximately 50 minutes. If I walk (fast), it’s probably another half an hour. If I go on my scooter (yes, I do have a scooter and yes, I am a fully grown adult – don’t judge me, it’s fun!), it’s also about 40 minutes. So why would you squeeze into someone else’s sweaty, stinky armpit and get up close (and far too personal) with an array of total strangers when you could simply run, scoot or walk home in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air, while listening to music or a really great podcast and appreciating the scenery around you? For the sake of allocating an extra 30 minutes for walking, it makes total sense – and what’s more, you get to enjoy some quality me-time.

In the UK, we struggle with vitamin D deficiency, and the sunlight we get is limited to the summer months. We spend hours every day in offices where there is often no natural light, then we get on dark trains or crammed buses and make our way home.

Well, how about a little switch up? Simply by popping on your trainers after a day in the office and power walking, whether you manage the entire journey home or just a section of it, at least you’re making the effort.

We get most of our vitamin D from sunshine exposure between May and September, so act quickly, before it’s autumn again! Make a plan and stick to it and soon you’ll be loving the chance to spend a little more time out of the rat race, while also burning more calories. It’s a win-win situation!

If you have the time and energy and you can run home, why not try it? It’s a lovely way to end the day. You get back feeling re-energised and ready for a shower, which will also start your wind-down after a long day at work. I finish my radio show at 6.30am and I love running home – it sets me up for the rest of the day. If I’m then heading off to another job, I feel like I’ve reset my clock and I’m ready to go again. It’s also great to have that time away from the buzz of the crowds and the general cacophony of the city.

If you do decide to walk, run or even scoot home from work, why not catch up with RunPod while you’re at it? It’s the running club of the podcast world. Yes, I am biased as it is my podcast, but it can act as a great motivator. Recently, I’ve recorded episodes with brilliant guests, including Dame Kelly Holmes – she talked about how she trains now, as well as enlightening us on how it feels to stand on that winner’s podium. I also spoke to actor Jason Flemyng, who told me what it was like to run the London Marathon with Jason Statham, who turned up having done no training! Have a listen and let me know what you think.

RunPod is available to download wherever you get your podcasts.

Health & Wellbeing