Skip to main content

Thoughts On Two Months Of Walking To Work

Admittedly, I’ve been a little late to the ballgame on most things Financial Independence related.

Commuting to work over the years has been no exception. Since graduating college I’ve always had a lengthy commute, no less than 30 minutes one way.

This is mostly due to the location of my various offices being out in the suburbs. As a young, single guy I’ve always liked to live closer to the big cities where (it seems like) there is a lot more going on than in the suburbs.

Unfortunately this has always lead to the double whammy of a long commute, plus higher rent and living costs (can anyone knock some sense into me!?)

However, that’s all changed recently with my recent promotion to a new position at my company.

To recap: instead of my 30 mile, 45 minute (minimum) one way commute for 5 days a week, now for 3-4 days a week my office is only a little over 2 miles away from my apartment.

Talk about a massive change!

I decided that, even though my commute would now be 7 minutes by car, I now really have no excuse not to walk or bike into work on these days.

This has been quite the adjustment to make, but I’m loving my walking commute so much more now.

Here are a few thoughts I’ve had on the last two months of walking to work:

Not Helping Much On The Time Front, Or Is It?

My old thinking around the commute never really took into account the distance between where I lived and worked, it was simply about how much time it would take me to get there.

30 minute one way commutes have always been the minimum, even when I worked in Southern California and work was only 5 miles away! (In hindsight I obviously just should’ve biked to work…)

This new walk to work really isn’t saving me much on the time front.

It takes me roughly 35-40 minutes to walk the roughly 2.2 miles to and from work. Add in changing clothes and shoes (DC is just too humid in the summer and I’m a naturally sweaty person ha) and I don’t save virtually any time on the commute than if I had just driven the 30 miles to my other office.

Or do I save time?

Walking to and from work isn’t just a commute, it’s a built in form of exercise. Getting two 35-40 minute aerobic exercises in each day means I don’t feel the need to go for a 20-30 minute run when I get home from work in order to get exercise in.

Adding it up, in order to get an equivalent amount of exercise in the hour and 20 minutes I spent walking, it would roughly take me 2 hours (1 hour 30 min commute, 30 min run) with my longer driving commute.

So maybe it’s not a huge time savings, but I certainly value having that additional exercise and all the extra time spent outdoors. (We’ll see if I’m still saying that when it’s freezing in the winter!)

Will This Help Me To Live Longer?

As mentioned above, the built in exercise of walking to work is pretty awesome. Everyone knows exercise = good for your health and living a healthy life can do wonders for your lifespan.

There’s evidence out there that confirms this, stating that people who walk to work instead of drive or take the train/bus have a drastically reduced chance of dying.

But the benefits go far beyond just being able to live longer. It may increase the quality of life while also living longer. Sounds like the ideal scenario to me!

Walking has proven to have numerous health benefits that aren’t all just physically related. Mental health is also shown to improve as walking helps to lower stress levels and helps to positively improve you mood.

Benefits extend even little things such as being outside longer helps you get a little more vitamin d – things you normally wouldn’t think of.

I’ve noticed that walking to work has helped me to become more mindful. Now, instead of staring at the cars around me for 45 minutes, while I walk I get to look at the world around me, taking in new sights, seeing new people, experiencing new things on a daily basis.

I could even stop to smell the roses if I wanted to! 😉

So, while walking to work doesn’t necessarily guarantee that I’ll live longer, it’s certainly giving me a better shot than those long drives to work.

I’m Saving (A LOT) Of Money

I put this one last because even though it’s another awesome side benefit, it wasn’t the main reason for me choosing to make the walk into work.

The money side can’t be ignored though!

Firstly, it’s tough to quantify how much money I would save on current and future medical costs from the improved health aspect of walking to work, but it absolutely can’t be forgotten.

Good health usually equates to lower spending on health care, and that’s something “future you” will be very thankful for!

The other obvious cost savings comes from not driving to work. Less driving equates to many different areas of cost savings:

Reduced driving = less fuel used = lower fuel costs. Less time in the car decreases your chance of getting in an accident (and the costs associated with that). Less mileage on the car means less maintenance costs and allows your car to last longer (which I really need in order to help justify my expensive car!)

With fewer total miles driven each year you may also qualify for additional discounts on your car insurance depending on your insurer as well.

If you walk full time you may not even need a car which could wipe out a huge expense!

Bottom line: walking to work can really help you save money.

Thoughts On Walking to Work?

Simply put, walking to work has been awesome.

There are so many more benefits to walking to work that weren’t even mentioned such as being more environmentally friendly and decreasing the overall congestion levels in your area. Things like these can’t be forgotten!

In the future I’m hoping to make walking to work a permanent adaptation.

If that means having to move jobs to continue living where I am, or moving out closer to where I work, then it’s something I’ve got to consider. If I ever move again, which I’ve been debating (it won’t be for at least another year), finding a place nearby work will be a top priority.

The benefits are just too good to ignore!

While this post has been all about walking, I’m not opposed to biking either and everything said above applies to biking as well! Biking just extends the range you can go (so you don’t have to spend 2 hours walking to work if you live 6 miles away!)

If you haven’t already, definitely consider walking or biking to work… you won’t regret it!

.

Do you walk/bike to work? If so, how long have you been doing it? Are there any other benefits you have noticed that I missed?

18 thoughts to “Thoughts On Two Months Of Walking To Work”

  1. If someone is able to do it, it really is a no-brainer. Would you rather spend 30 minutes sitting in a car, stuck in traffic and getting angry at all the dumb drivers on the road or would you rather get your exercise in, breathe fresh air and not deal with the nonsense of the roads and bad drivers? 🙂

    You also mentioned the “hidden” savings in addition to the obvious reduction in fuel costs: reduced maintenance costs and lower auto insurance because you’re driving considerably fewer miles per year. As you mentioned, you’re also saving time even though the actual commute time is the same — that savings comes later in the day as you don’t have to take that walk/run after work to get your exercise in. You’ve already done it!

    This post sums it up greatly, I think you covered all the benefits. I wish I could walk to work, but I live around 12 miles away!

  2. Commute free life is the only way to go, ideally I think about 15 minutes max travel time from my ‘centre of gravity’, school, uni, work etc… is about right.

    I was recently forced to swap driving to work for walking for a while and my podcast listening hours went through the roof as a result.

    But at the moment I prefer to drive 10 mins each way and put the 25 mins saved each way towards my workout.

    HH

    1. Yea my walking commute is a bit long but I don’t really mind it due to the exercise factor and using it as a way to get some personal time. Using the extra time to workout is definitely beneficial in itself!

  3. Hahaha why do you think my Instagram has so many pictures of flowers on it? So many opportunities to stop and smell the roses when you walk!

    Walking to work is the best. Okay, it’s kind of the worst in the summer (I miss working at a place that had a shower I could use!) and winter and when it rains, but other than that it’s the absolute best. I got extremely lucky and moved to my apartment before I got my first actual job, which then happened to be close enough to walk to, so I’ve been walking for all four years and am EXTREMELY spoiled. There’s absolutely a downside in that it usually means living in a more expensive area, but I don’t see myself ever wanting to give up the flexibility, built-in exercise opportunities, and reduced environmental impact (plus, I LIKE walking. I do not like driving in traffic) in order to save money and live further out. Oh well, guess I’ll at least be healthy while I’m delaying my FI plans! 😂

    1. So many flowers! But yes I’m most looking forward to those spring and fall months where the temperatures are more moderate. I think you also need to consider the extra commuting costs of living further away into your calculations! While rent might be slightly cheaper the additional costs of commuting really can add up

  4. Don’t forget those of us crazies who run to work at least part time 😉 I’ve been running that 6 miles at least once a week for a year and a half now, and something I used to dread is something I look forward to. I’m looking into getting a bike at some point because I really want to get away from driving the other 4 days a week. I actually hate driving, so it certainly helps my motivation to get to work in other ways.

  5. Hey! I used to drive 45 to an hour to work but I moved in an apartment which is about 4 blocks from my office. It now takes me 5 minutes to walk :). It is too short to bike. Haha! But I do bike to my gym now.

    So much less stress!

  6. My office is about the same distance from my home, but since I get to take my toddler to daycare, walking is not an option. Once he “graduates” from daycare to school, and I am not wishing that to go any faster, but I’m looking forward to that kind of a commute again. For about 7 years while I was living and working in Manhattan, I had a 6 block commute; that’s about a quarter of a mile. In contrast, my father commuted to NYC every day for 30+ years, and never had the chance to take me to school and the like. My point in all of this is that time matters but also the value of how you spend it. A nice walk or bike ride to work is time not in traffic or on a train. I’ve also spent 4 hours a day commuting on a train, bus, and a walk; thankfully for only 2 years. That was brutal. Living in the great metro areas of the country, and I’m betting the world, finding a short commute is worth a lot. it’s a trade-off often if you have a family when one must consider schooling, but if you can find the balance, it’s totally worth it.

    1. Wow 4 hours is an insane commute! I do think having family makes the commute and coordinating around that much tougher. As you mentioned, finding the right balance is key and everyone situation is going to be a little different!

  7. At my 2nd job I was able to walk to work – it was great! At first it was about 30-40 mins so I’d usually walk one way and bus the other way. Occasionally I would drive but not much because we are a one car household, I hate driving, and the route between home and work was actually very difficult to navigate in terms of turning into traffic etc despite the short physical distance. Then we moved and it became a 20 min walk so I walked both ways every day!

  8. Good man. I walked to work for about a year when I lived downtown. That one mile was pretty do-able, even in the hard Minnesota winter. Currently I’m all about the 10 mile bicycle commute. Clears the head and gets me much needed exercise.

  9. That’s pretty cool man, better you than me haha. No but seriously, the health benefits have got to be enormous, if this can be sustained long term. These little steps, moving close to work, walking or biking, its so simple but most people will never take action.

    Awesome job man. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: