Are you able to walk, bike or use public transportation to get to your workplace? If so, grab your sneakers and start now because bicycling and walking to work have been proven to have long-term health benefits.
A study by Imperial College London and University College compared workers’ methods of commuting with the state of their heath, using data from a survey of 20,000 people across the U.K. The researchers found that bicycling, walking and using public transportation were all associated with a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and being overweight.
Anthony Laverty from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London reports, "This study highlights that building physical activity into the daily routine by walking, cycling or using public transport to get to work is good for personal health."
Physical exercise can be incorporated into daily routines with little extra effort when people bike or walk to work. Plus, being outdoors and exploring the city has been associated with relieving the stress of a hectic workday.
In the U.K. study, 19 percent of working age adults who commuted via private transport — such as cars, motorbikes or taxis — were obese, compared to 15 percent of those who walking and 13 percent of those biking to work.
Tips for Walking and Biking to Work
Stanford University Parking and Transportation Services offers the following tips for making the commute easier and safer for people who choose to walk or bike to work.
- Map out a biking or walking plan that is clear and accessible. Time the plan and try it out on the weekend to see if the route fits well for you.
- Learn the rules of the road. Ride on the appropriate side of the street, wait at stop signs and obey traffic signals for a safe trip.
- Wear appropriate attire. If you’re biking to work, make sure to wear a helmet, have your bike registered and put reflectors on for night riding. If you’re walking to work, wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Remember to grab your rain boots on rainy days!
- Count the calories you burn. Refer to Calories Burned Per Minute for Walking and Calories Burned Per Minute for Biking charts to track your progress. You’ll be more motivated to continue walking or biking to work when you see the positive differences it makes.
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