One of our new challenges this summer for the MUS Wellness Incentive Program involves commuting. There are many reasons to be conscious of how we get ourselves from place to place. Using alternative transportation including biking, walking, public transportation or carpooling has a number of positive benefits including:
- Saving money
- Lowering emissions
- Easing campus parking burdens
- Decreasing stress levels
- Biking and walking have numerous health/well-being benefits
Here’s a story from Bryan Grove from MSU Billings. Bryan and several of his colleagues participated in the Montana Commuter Challenge this May.
I really enjoy participating in the Montana Commuter Challenge. The Montana Commuter Challenge provides an opportunity for people to think about alternative transportation to save money, get some exercise, and reduce carbon emissions. For me, it provides the catalyst to get my bike out after a long winter and commute not only to work, but running errands as well. With kids at home and a long work day, I don’t get much exercise. The Challenge encourages me to think about how I can get exercise by biking to work or other errands. The Challenge also gives me an opportunity to promote healthy living and challenge people to think about Earth friendly modes of transportation.
The team aspect of the Challenge allows me to meet new co-workers, connect over a shared interest and motivate each other to live healthier lives. Last year, 11 people from MSU Billings participated in the Challenge. It was motivating to be part of a team endeavoring to live a healthier lifestyle. Jessica mentions that walking or biking to work gave her a jump-start to being more active through running, long road rides, and mountain biking. She also said “commuting by walking or biking gives me time to clear my head after work.” Rita, who uses the bus to get to work, appreciates the ride because “it reduces stress because I don’t have to drive home in rush-hour traffic after I’ve worked all day and I’m tired!” Derrick likes biking to work because “[he] is more aware of what [he] is eating throughout the day because [he] wants to have ‘good’ energy by the time [he] rides home.” This year, our team increased by over 50%. My hope for next year is to have over 20 people exercising more, eating better, and reducing stress after a long day at work.
It was a great feeling to know we were part of a Challenge encompassing almost 200 teams from across the state, all making an effort to live healthier lives. If you did not participate in the Challenge this year, I encourage you to find a team or start one of your own. Enjoy the sunny weather as you bike, walk, or use mass transit to get to work!
Bryan Grove, MSU Billings
You don’t even have to wait till next May to make healthy commuting part of your routine! If you participate in our Incentive Program, the challenge is to use a form of alternative transportation at least twice a week.
Enjoy the summer and the ride!