How To Turn Your Commute into Your Work-out

Wake up, go to work, take care of the family, cook dinner, go to bed. Sound familiar?

Busy people often ask, “Where can I find time to exercise?” It’s not always easy, but it’s vital to your overall health. When the majority of your time is already booked, it takes a little creativity to fit exercise into your routine. Lucky for us, we found a guy who not only came up with a unique way to exercise, but a creative way to fit it into his day. This is James, and take a look at how he turned his commute into his exercise solution:

As a roller derby player, I am always looking for ways to balance training with work and family. For years, I’ve biked the 13 miles round-trip to work. But, even though biking is a good form of cross-training, I didn’t feel like I was getting enough of a workout from it. That’s when I came up with the crazy idea to skate to work. The idea came to me last summer. As the spring rains give way to the summer dry season, skaters leave the confines of the local rinks and make for any trail with a reasonably smooth and debris-free surface. However, there were lots of skating obstacles that I needed to overcome before I could start skating to work.

The first obstacle was safety. My route to work requires that I skate in the bike lane for much of the way. Bike lanes and roads in general, aren’t exactly designed for roller skates. There aren’t civil engineers looking out of skaters when designing roads, and, there is quite a bit of variability in road surfaces!

The next obstacle was that I was afraid of showing up to work covered in sweat. Worse yet, what if it rained? Not only would I get soaked, but skates are not designed for the rain: they rust and have no traction on slick surfaces. And, I wasn’t sure how I was going to transport all of my work clothes. Recently, a cycling coworker forgot his pants and it got me thinking. With skating, there would be no way I could make it back home if I forgot something. I have to be sure to remember pants and shoes! The biggest fear about skating to work was how ridiculous I would look. I don’t want to be that guy from Reno 911!

Well, I weighed all the obstacles, and this summer I took the plunge. Since then, I haven’t looked back. Sure, it is hard to get up a little earlier each morning (my morning commute is 10 minutes longer) and convince myself to strap on skates. But, I never regret it when I do.

To start, I made a list of items I needed to bring to work with me. My list includes shoes, pants, a nice shirt, lunch, wallet, a book, cell phone, belt, and water. I then packed’em up and went on a dry run (on a weekend). Well, it was a dry run right up until it started raining as I pulled up to work. I quickly stowed my skates and pads (I always wear knee, elbow, and wrist pads!) and jumped on the bus to ride home. Though I retreated to the confines of public transportation, I discovered the streets of Eugene/Springfield were safe enough for me to skate to work in a reasonable amount of time. It was on.

Now, I skate to work any dry day I don’t have roller derby practice, and, it’s extremely rewarding. Not a commute goes by without some stranger cheering on the guy on roller skates. Even though I need a cool down period to assuage my sweat tsunamis after each skate, my roller derby stamina is top notch. While the other fellas are winded at practice, I’ve found that I’m able to do extra laps after practice. That’s not bad for a guy who weighs 240 pounds! It’s just another example of how conquering your fears and leaving your comfort zone can lead to the greatest gains.”

Thanks to James for sharing his story. Since he got the ball rolling, we’d love to keep the ideas rolling! So tell us, how do you exercise and how do you squeeze it into your routine?

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