Why should you switch to walking or cycling to work to improve your health?
A recent study conducted at the University of East Anglia has closely focused on the psychological and wellbeing impacts that walking or cycling to work has on everyday commuters.
The study of 18,000 UK commuters has found that the experience of travelling to work without a car significantly improved their psychological health. The longer that people spend travelling in cars on a regular journey, they are much more likely they are to find the emotional impact of the commute to be incredibly stressful.
The study also took other factors of modern living known to impact wellbeing into account, including:
- relationship changes
- changes in job or home
- having children
Replace your car for a bike
Including more physical activity in a regular commute has significant impact on psychological health and wellbeing, and cutting out driving a car completely shows that people become happier after making this change.
Even using public transport instead of a car indicated ‘surprising’ results of happier feelings and improved wellbeing. This is due to the opportunity to relax, socialise, switch off or read a book or newspaper associated with this type of journey.
Walking to happiness
The related walk to the bus stop or train station while using public transport also has an associated impact on increased levels of happiness and wellbeing. Generally, the study found that longer periods of walking while commuting amplified the benefit of reduced stress and happier feelings.
Areas that are pedestrianised or are busy with other commuters on foot or bicycle have been found to bring feelings of neighbourliness and promote a happy, functional community.
Health Benefits of Walking & Cycling
While the benefits of physical exercise are well known to most people, this study links the psychological element of health & wellbeing to a physical commute.
Related studies suggest that those who make physical activity their complete journey to work have a much lower likelihood of experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, and their overall health is significantly better.
The information in these pages is intended as general advice only. If you or your family members require any medical advice or have any medical concerns, please contact your GP.