Why you should park farther away
To increase your physical activity on a regular basis, one idea is to park much farther away from your office and the entrance to stores. However, there are a number of other benefits as well.
First, you may end up actually saving time if you consistently park in the back of a parking lot. Attempting to find the closest spot possible in a crowded lot can quite often lead to circling around 3 or 4 times before you finally decide on a spot. Then when you do finally find that spot (at which point someone like me who immediately parked in the back would probably already be in the store), odds are that you’re going to have to squeeze into a smaller spot with cars crowding the borders of the spot on all sides. Then you get to squeeze out of the spot while only partially opening your door because the car next to you is so close. Meanwhile my car is sitting in a nice big open area with no cars on either side of it. Your car is also far less likely to get dinged by another car or shopping cart if you park in a less crowded area of the lot.
You may ask at this point: “Yeah, but I’ll save time when I leave the store since I won’t be parked as far away.” I would argue that this time savings is actually not as large as you think, especially in very crowded lots. There is a very good chance that as you try to get out of the spot, you’re going to have to wait on people walking by, or other cars driving by and/or backing up into the area immediately behind you and/or waiting on other people to get out of their spots. Crazilies! There is also a good chance that you won’t be able to see as easily where the parking lot exits are (especially if you drive a smaller car and are surrounded by huge SUV’s), so you may waste time driving the wrong way.
In really crowded lots, you will also have people stalking you all the way to your car, and then waiting for you to leave. As a result, you may feel annoyed and rush to get out of the spot as quickly as possible, which results in not taking the time to get settled in and hook up your MP3 player or whatever else before you leave. You are then trying to take care of those things as you drive, which makes your driving a lot more dangerous.
Another advantage of parking farther away at the office and to some extent at any stores you regularly go to is that you can consistently park in the same spot or within a space or two of your normal spot every time. I really enjoy this aspect of parking farther away, because I always know where my car is when I leave the office in the evening. I don’t have to think about it every time I walk out the door, or look for it if I forgot where I parked that day. It’s like I have a nice reserved spot for myself.
The only times that I would say are not as good for parking farther away are when you have kids, elderly, or disabled people with you, or if you feel there is any additional chance of getting mugged/assaulted if you park in the back of a lot. Hopefully you don’t park in dangerous places like that too often though. And hopefully if you are with a disabled person, you can park in a handicapped spot. On the flip side of the kid coin, parking far away can make it much less of a hassle to get them in and out of the car if you don’t have tons of other parked and moving cars around you, and you also instill a wonderful habit for when they grow up. Either that or they will rebel and never park far away for all of their teenage years. But eventually they will realize how smart Mom and Dad are.
Give this a try, especially at the places you park at most often, like your office and the grocery store. If you come up with any other pros or cons for parking farther away, please feel free to share below.