How do you get to work? The majority of people drive and then others commute by bus or train. It’s not always feasible to walk, cycle or even run but if it is a possibility why don’t you consider it? The benefits for your health are plentiful and an active lifestyle is the only way to go for a longer life.
New research has shown that people who walk to work are much less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. The new study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and reports some shocking and interesting findings.
Research reveals that commuters who choose to walk to work are 40% less likely to be diagnosed as diabetic and 17% less likely to end up with high bloody pressure in comparison to drivers. The research was carried out by professionals at Imperial College London and University College London and looked at how specific health indicators related to people’s travel to work. They collected data from a survey which 20,000 in the UK took part in.
The research also looked at cyclists as well as those who walk. It found that those who choose to cycle walk and use public transport methods were associated with a lower risk of overweightness than those who choose to drive or take taxis. Amazingly cyclists were found to be 50% less likely to have diabetes than drivers.
In conclusion the researchers have suggested that people could reduce the risk of ending up with serious health conditions such as heart attacks by limiting their use of the car. Commuting on foot or by bicycle or even using public transport is associated with better general and personal health and therefore a longer, healthier lifespan.
The research showed that 19% of working age adults who used private transport to get to work were obese whereas the figures for people who walked was 15% and people who cycled 13%. Unsurprisingly people used public transport most in London and least in Northern Ireland.
The regional differences are of course more due to
If your workplace is a bit too far to walk and you’re not keen on public transport then it could be the perfect time to get on your bicycle. Below are some tips for cycling to work and overcoming the nerves of the busiest roads out there.
Never Fear the Lycra
It’s a myth that all cyclists wear Lycra. By all means choose to if you want to but loose, comfortable clothing is fine too. It’s not recommended to cycle in the clothes you plan to wear all day.
This isn’t a race and isn’t a test of your stamina. You should work out how long it’s going to take and as a rule you won’t be overly effected by traffic so this shouldn’t affect your journey. Give yourself enough time to cycle at a leisurely pace and then you won’t need to get stressed.
The added bonus of taking it slowly and leisurely is that you can avoid the need for a shower. Showering work isn’t always possible so taking your time will make all the difference.
If you’re committed to cycling then don’t be put off by the rain. It will happen but if you’re prepared with your waterproof jacket you’ll be fine. There’s rarely any need to go the whole hog with waterproof trousers and every other area covered. Always be prepared and then you won’t have to abandon your cycle and get back in the car.
Take it in your Stride
Busy roads can be daunting, they can even be scary if you’re not a confident cyclist but that will come with experience. There are quieter roads and cycle paths in most areas but it’s not always possible to stick to them. Take the busier stretches in your stride and in time you’ll be taking them like a pro.
Some people may believe they couldn’t possibly commute but there’s always a way. Cycle to the train station, walk to the bus stop and continue your journey that way. Alternatively many offices are located near gyms or even incorporate them so you could get your fitness fix midday rather than during your commute.
The new research is unequivocal, people who choose to commute rather than using private transport are likely to have better lifestyles. If you’re planning to revolutionise yours then it’s definitely worth working in this element. Alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise you’ll soon feel increased energy levels, lighter moods and happier all around.
It can be a big wrench to get up that extra half hour earlier but it will be worth it for the extra energy and healthiness you get back in the long-term. Check out the bus timetable and see how it goes.
by Kath Webb
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by Kath Webb
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