I sold my car about 7 years ago and haven’t looked back. The interesting thing is that at the time it was just a necessity. I had no idea it would benefit me beyond eliminating the oppressive monthly payments. Now stick with me here, this isn’t some hippie tirade. I will explain how this actually applies to being fit and healthy, and how it can contribute to weightloss.
Owning a Car
For the majority of my adult life (since I was 16-years-old) I have owned a car. As you probably know, the strange thing that happens when you own a car is that the question “how will I get from place A to destination B” is already answered by default: I will drive. Of course! Because I own a car. Plus, at some points in my life, it was actually a pretty cool car with a decent stereo.
If the distance was extremely short, I would likely walk, but for any distance or duration over a few minutes, I would simply get in the car, crank the tunes, and drive.
Not Owning a Car
When you take the “I own a car” element out of the equation, you are forced to get creative. Will I walk? Will I ride my bike? Take the bus? Take the subway? Walk there and run back? Use a car share? Call a friend? An Uber? Mom?
The first great thing about many of the alternative modes of gettin’ ’round that I just listed is that they involve physically moving your body. Yes, even taking the bus or the subway involves walking, standing and balancing (using proprioception) that we don’t use when we are sitting on our butts in a car seat. Even using one of the car share programs involves walking to the parking spot where the car is kept and then walking home again after you drop the car off again.
The second great thing about these alternatives is that they are often shown to lower stress levels, raise your mood and perhaps even help you get better sleep. I published a podcast about commuting over at workplacehero.me/commute if you are interested in learning more.
Sure, you need to be more organized and plan ahead so you still arrive on time (although, I would argue that you need to do that just as much when you drive because traffic sucks) but in general I would much rather feel the wind in my hair on my bike than be breathing the recycled and overly conditioned air inside a cramped car. I would also rather be standing and reading a book on the bus or subway rather than sitting there reading the license plates and bumper stickers of the cars infront of me. Not to mention the joy of letting someone else do the driving while you people watch or space-out.
It’s a Mindset
Now you don’t have to actually sell your car if you don’t want to but I would challenge you to at least adopt a car-less mindset and give yourself the task of choosing a different mode of transportation at least 50% of your journeys. I am certain that you will start to fall in love with the idea of being car-less when your step counter, activity tracker, bathroom scale, and waistline start to show the benefits of all this extra movement.
Do you live a car-less life style? Do you have doubts that this would work for you? Let’s start a conversation below.