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Commuter Lifestyle

We all have different lifestyles. One thing that impacts some of my clients that live in the DC-Baltimore bubble is how their work commute impacts their overall lifestyle. It is not unusual for many of them to drive or take public transportation for an hour or more before they arrive at work. This is of course assuming that there are no traffic accidents or heavy traffic patterns, that may add additional time to an already long day. I can personally empathize with their traffic woes as my own commute is about an hour each way (if all goes well). As my husband is well aware, a hectic and delayed commute home (especially depending on how many horns are honked, people have cut me off and middle fingers I’ve seen drivers direct at one another) can negatively impact my enthusiasm to workout and prepare a healthy meal for dinner in the evening.

commuter, certified diabetes educator, nutritionist, Frederick Maryland, Dietitian Frederick Maryland, The Simple Ingredient, Alison Massey

After an evening of what I considered a pretty tragic 1 hour and 40 minute ride home after work however I realized that I may have little control over the traffic patterns but I do have control over how I’m using my time. Just as I advise others to stop focusing on excuses and consider how they are using the minutes in their day to incorporate healthy behaviors, I recognized I needed to take a look at how my personal commute was impacting my exercise and food preparation schedule.

While I don’t have all the answers on how to better structure your day to incorporate healthy here are a few tongue-in-cheek solutions/strategies for incorporating healthy lifestyle behaviors if you too have a stressful commute home.

For days when that guy/girl gives you the middle finger (Come on! They cut you off!):

  • An offensive gestures can totally mess up your ‘zen’ but don’t let it! Channel your frustration and irritation into positive energy when you get home.
  • Turn the music on and up as soon as you get home. Create a playlist of positive tunes to get you geared up for a great workout.
  • Start burning that candle you keep in the kitchen or living room. Consider it an aromatherapy boost!
  • Prepare a totally awesome and nutritious dinner to boost your mood that includes a lean protein like fish or beans, high fiber carbohydrate and lots of non-starchy vegetables.commuter, certified diabetes educator, nutritionist, Frederick Maryland, Dietitian Frederick Maryland, The Simple Ingredient, Alison Massey

For days when traffic patterns stink and you’re tired and hungry:

  • Focus on improving your flexibility and incorporating 15-30 minutes of yoga and/or calisthenics.
  • Pull out your emergency snack stash in the car (highly recommend always carrying something with you to crunch on)
  • 10-15 nuts to satiate your ravenous appetite (and give you time for dinner prep when you get home).
  • Focus on meals you can pull together fast. Try my bean burrito recipe!!
  • Hydrate when you get home. Try sparkling water with sliced cucumber and lemons.

For days when it’s smooth riding and all goes well:

  • Maximize your culinary time and prep food the next night’s meal even if it is just slicing the vegetables or marinating your meat.
  • Incorporate at least 30-45 minutes of physical activity. Take the dog on a walk, go for that run or attend your favorite yoga class.
  • Pack your healthy emergency snacks for the week. You never know when you might need them.

*The information on this blog is meant to be informative and should not take the place of medical advice. ** The thoughts and opinions expressed on The Simple Ingredient are my own, and are not related to my employer, Mercy Medical Center.

1 Comment

  • Kaitlin Posted 10/29/2016 1:26 am

    The average 9-to-5 worker probably doesn t associate the word commute with happiness. American city commutes are especially notorious for dead-stop traffic, heavy congestion and stressful attempts to race the clock and get a coffee before the long workday has even begun.


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