That long commute to work is part of your weekly routine. As a passenger on a bus, subway, or train, it’s easy to zone out during the trip.

It’s the same thing every day, but is there a way to make it more enjoyable? Active commuting can keep your mind sharp and ready for the demands of the day, but always keep safety in mind.

“Remember to use these tactics only when you’re a passenger and not when you’re the driver,” says David Tomaselli, MD, of Valley Family Medicine-UPMC. Once you’re safely seated, follow these tips to keep your brain active on your commute.

To find a primary care doctor, visit the UPMC website or call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP.

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Ways to Give Your Brain a Workout

Pick up a book

Reading not only exercises your mind, but it can be a great outlet for stress after a hard day at work. Plus, reading boosts your analytical thinking skills.

Pick up your local newspaper and stay up on current events. Spend time learning about what’s going on in the world. Get lost in a novel if you prefer to escape reality. If you have a tablet, consider renting e-books from your local library. Whatever you choose, taking time to read will stimulate your brain by honing your language and critical thinking skills.

RELATED: The Surprising Health Benefits of Standing Desks

Try listening

Spend some time listening to an audiobook. They’re easy to access, and you can download them onto your phone with a variety of apps.

You may be wondering, “Isn’t listening to an audiobook kind of cheating?” Well, if you’re actively listening, your brain is working to decode the sounds and translate the words into meaning. Another option is to try podcasts. You can even do a crossword or sudoku puzzle while listening to get an extra brain boost.

Learn a new language

If you’re a passenger on your commute, take advantage of the downtime to learn a new language. There are apps that allow you to practice a new language almost anywhere. You could also use an audio program to learn a language you’ve always wanted to know. Your brain will be at work, while you learn a valuable, marketable skill to add to your resume.

RELATED: Do Crossword Puzzles Boost Your Brain Power?

Math, really

Do math in your head to keep your brain occupied on your commute. Look around as you ride along. Add up the numbers you see on road signs, license plates, or even signs inside your train car. It’ll make your commute feel like it’s going by faster and get your brain working.

Making the same commute day in and day out can get old, but staying active during the commute will keep things fresh. Try out these brain exercises for active commuting: Not only will you have a better start and end to your day, but your brain also will benefit.

To find a primary care doctor, visit the UPMC website or call 1-855-676-UPMCPCP (8762727).


About Primary Care

The relationship with a patient and their primary care doctor can be extremely valuable, and that’s what you get with UPMC Primary Care. When you work with a primary care physician (PCP), you develop a lasting relationship. Your doctor will get to know you and your history and can plan your treatments accordingly. Our PCPs offer a variety of services, including preventive care and treatment for both urgent and chronic conditions. With dozens of UPMC Primary Care locations across our network of care, you can find a PCP close to you. Schedule an appointment today.