Fitness: Make errands into workouts


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Daily Commuting Tip: Make your errand-run your daily workout

Words and Image: Eddie Allen
More: Daily Commuting Tips Archive

"Damn. I've got to post a letter, drop off a parcel, put a prescription into the chemists and pick up a loaf of bread, all in an hour-and-a-half before I pick up the kids. No chance of getting a ride in today then".

Or so you might think. Just the other day I had the exact problem detailed above, but managed to squeeze in an hour's quality riding in glorious sunshine.

Without the bike it would have been a boring trudge or an irritating drive from home to post box to post office to chemist to shop to home. It would have taken ages on foot and would have taken just as long by car, when you factor in finding a parking space each time.

With this in mind I headed for my nearby traffic-free rails-to-trails path and enjoyed an uninterrupted 15 mile ride through glorious autumnal colours, with just the company of dog walkers, fellow cyclists and the odd squirrel.

On the way home, I posted my letter, dropped in at the post office and the chemist, picked up a loaf and headed back to the house with my day's errands ticked off the TO DO list and about 750 calories dumped, along with a whole heap of stress.

To do this you've got to follow a few simple rules. You've got to wear clothes that are as comfortable on the bike as they are acceptable on the High Street. You've got to ride a bike that lets you carry stuff and that you can lock up outside shops (or fold up and carry in).

So many ‘fitness riders' (whoever they are) somehow think that the only exercise that ‘counts' is the stuff you do when you're ‘dressed for sport'. Thing is, 1 hour @ 75% maximum heart rate or thereabouts is just as beneficial ridden in street clothes on a Brompton as it is in Lycra on a Cannondale. The benefit with the former bike/attire is that you can run your errands at the same time.

So, if you've got a To Do list as long as your arm and the sands of time are running, jump on your bike anf give it a try.