Is your commute to work a problem or an opportunity ? Turns out it’s an opportunity to live longer, truly. And if you commute DURING work (like walking at a Treadmill Desk) the results can be even better.
In a study published in The BMJ, UK researchers analyzed data from more than 260,000 people. The researchers looked at how the people got to and from work, bicycling, walking, public transit or a combination of means then matched up their answers with morbidity events (heart attacks, cancer etc) over five years.
People who biked to work were 41% less likely to die than those who took public transportation or were not active during their commute. Even people who cycled part of the way to work benefited; they had a 24% lower risk of dying during the study compared to people who didn’t have an active commute. People who walked to work had a 27% lower risk of having a heart attack or other and a 36% lower risk of dying from heart problems, compared to people who took less active modes of transport.
The reasons why are clear. Studies have long supported the connection between physical activity and better heart health and weight control, which are critical for longer life. Nearly 90% of the bicyclists in the study met the recommended guidelines for physical activity (which is about 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity a week).
BUT HERE’S THE RUB: Not Exercising Is a Bigger Risk Factor Than Obesity in Early Death
The study’s author Jason Gill, from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, says that the cyclists likely experienced the most benefits from their active commute because they biked for longer distances than the walkers: about 30 miles a week, compared to six miles a week for the walkers. (People who choose to bike to work likely lived farther than those who walk, he says.) “The more you do, the bigger the benefit,” says Gill.
Most people find it hard to squeeze in exercise during the day, but the daily trek to and from the office provides an untapped opportunity increase your activity, says Gill. He hopes the findings help encourage communities and cities to adopt more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly practices, such as dedicated paths and bicycle rentals. Gill says, “If we can change cities so that it’s easier for people be more active, then people will be.”
Whether or not you bike or walk to work you can add activity DURING your workday with an UnSit Treadmill Desk or Under Desk Treadmill. Check out our customer success stories and learn more about UnSit products here.
~ I walked 1,875 steps typing this post.