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I used to drive to work -- until I looked at my monthly gas bill. (Yikes!) Then I got creative. I found the fastest route on public transit, which left me 12 blocks from work. So now, after I get off the train, I walk a mile to and from work each day. In the rain, in the wind, in the heat... I don't care. I walk. And I'm finding that as my bank account is increasing, my waistline is shrinking. Plus, I'm meeting new people along the way. 

I walk to work because…

It saves me money. When I made the decision to start walking to work, I in effect made the decision to save more than $100 a month. No more hoping that my car will keep running 30 miles after the gas light comes on, because I only have to buy gas once a month now. That extra hundred bucks quickly finds its way to my savings account -- and OK, occasionally to my favorite shoe store. (But hey, I walk now. I need stylish shoes.)

It forces me to exercise daily. I don’t really understand the concept of treadmills. I’m walking and going nowhere at the same time. What is that about? So I’m thankful that my daily "real" walks save me from that. Walking to and from my job guarantees that I'll get my body moving twice a day. And in the process, I’ve lost some weight and maintained my size. On his website Sharecare.com, Dr. Oz noted that regular walkers have lower blood pressure, higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and fewer heart attacks and strokes than couch sitters do. That makes me feel pretty good.

It helps me meet new people. I’m not the only person taking the same daily 12-block odyssey. The man who works a couple blocks away from me and the woman who always stops at the same coffee place each morning also join me -- and so do a number of other people. Our regular interactions make the journey much less solitary. I've found that driving alone in the car every morning can get lonely, and believe that working in a large city has the potential to make someone feel insignificant. But seeing the regulars who walk the same streets I do every day breaks the city down into individual faces, and it becomes much less overwhelming for me.

It brings me peace before my day begins. Anytime I have a big meeting I’m anxious about, or don't feel motivated to head to the office for whatever reason, I'm thankful that I have 15 minutes of tranquil walking to enjoy before I enter the workplace. This is my time of serenity. This is my time of personal preparation. This is my time to put on my headphones and drown out my anxiety with the latest jams. The walk always makes me better prepared mentally and emotionally for the day ahead.

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