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When you take long road trips, what do you eat? Do you pack healthy snacks like fruit and nuts or do you grab whatever you can find at the gas station and munch to keep yourself awake? A new study examining the relationship between commute distance and obesity points to the unhealthy habits formed when you have to take a mini road trip to work every day. In this study, over 9,000 participants were followed for about 6 years. Data was collected on dietary habits, lifestyle, weight, and the length of their annual commute distance. Participants that traveled in the highest mileage category were significantly more likely to become overweight or obese than those traveling shorter distances.

It’s not hard to imagine why this might be the case--the convenience of junk food and lack of time for exercise when so much of your time is devoted to traveling, make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

If you are stuck with a lengthy commute and feel yourself packing on a few extra pounds, joining a carpool or vanpool can help. If someone else is driving at least half the time, you can sleep instead of forcing yourself to stay awake by drinking coffee or munching on spicy Cheetos. You can eat healthier food that would be comically impossible to eat if you were driving yourself, like oatmeal or a grapefruit. You can get some extra work done so that when you do finally get home, you’ll have time to hit the gym or take your dog for a long walk. If you are able, working from home occasionally or working a compressed work week schedule can significantly reduce the burden of your long commute.

Don’t surrender your waistline to your killer commute – try a commute alternative and beat it!

 



As a frugal person, I’m always looking for a way to save, whether it is for a fun vacation, a gift for a special someone, or simply for my future. It’s probably the case for you as well – who doesn’t like saving a bit of money? Why spend more when you can buy for less?

Atlanta was recently ranked number one on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, based on digital coupon usage statistics, reported by Coupons.com. Additionally, Atlanta ranked in the top 5 U.S. cities for being one of the ‘Most On-the-Go Frugal Cities’ due to using Coupons.com Grocery iQ and mobile apps. 2012 was the fourth straight year Atlanta was awarded with this distinction proving that Atlantans really do know how to stretch a dollar.

With saving money being a top priority in our city, citizens continue to come up with new ways to save including DIY home projects, finding fun and frugal date ideas, going to the library, and buying used instead of new.

Another super simple way to stretch your dollars is by choosing a commute alternative. Thousands of Atlanta residents have chosen an alternative to driving alone - there’s a commute option for everyone: carpooling, vanpooling, riding transit, bicycling, walking, teleworking, or working a compressed work week. When you calculate gas, maintenance and other car expenses, it costs 59 cents per mile to drive alone, adding up to thousands of dollars each year. Think of how much you can save by changing your driving habits!

Each workday in metro Atlanta, commuters collectively save $500,000 by participating in the Georgia Commute Options programs. You can read more about the different commute options at GaCommuteOptions.com in addition to learning about the different cash incentive programs available. So, not only will you be saving quite a bit of money by simply not driving alone, you can earn money at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!



Working in The Clean Air Campaign office has its perks: Great places to walk to for lunch, easy access to MARTA, and the annual MLK Parade that we can see from our windows overlooking Auburn Avenue. Last month’s parade inspired my own dream--to help commuters escape from sitting idle on highways and interstates that turn into parking lots during rush hour.
 
Maybe you don’t travel on a big highway to get to work every day, but you know even the surface streets get so congested that travel speeds deteriorate. Why does our fast-paced society accept the inertia that comes with sitting on streets and highways in traffic?

I’ll tell you why. Because people have found this slow time on the roads to do the things they’re better suited to be doing at home, with their family, or in the office. Do you ever see someone in traffic with a book or newspaper on the steering wheel? Yikes. How about texting? Applying make-up? Uh oh. Failing to merge at a decent speed because they are busy opening a package? By spending a good amount of my time on the road visiting employers and property managers for meetings and events, I have seen it all. And I am tired of it.

I am ready to live out my dream to empower others to reclaim the time they lose in traffic, but I need your help. Stop driving and doing A,B, and C at the same time. Start carpooling. Georgia Commute Options offers a free service to help match potential carpoolers interested in sharing the ride. Some may live in your neighborhood or work in your building. And guess what? This means when the carpool passenger needs to apply her make-up, respond to a funny text, or catch up on emails, the driver can drive! We could have half the cars on the road and everyone has better driving habits.



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