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Walking or cycling to work 'improves wellbeing'

Walking or cycling to work 'improves wellbeing'

Monday, 15 September

Accordingto a recent study published by the BBC, researchersat the University of East Anglia, it has been found that ‘active commuters’i.e. those who walked or cycled to work felt better able to concentrate andunder less strain than when travelling by car. It was also found that commuting by public transport was also preferableto driving, following a study of over 18,000 UK commuters over 10 yearssuggested.

Thestudy, carried out at UEA's Norwich Medical School and the Centre for HealthEconomics at the University of York, used data on nearly 18,000 adult commutersfrom across the UK over 18 years. Out ofthis group, 73% said they went to work by car, 13% walked and 3% cycled towork. About 11% used public transport on their commute.

Thosewho had an active commute were found to have a higher level of wellbeing thanthose who went by car or public transport.

Whenresearchers analysed the wellbeing of a small group who swapped the car or busfor a bike or going on foot, they found they became happier after the switch.

Thestudy looked at feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, andbeing unable to face problems. The researchers also accounted for numerousfactors known to affect wellbeing, including income, having children, movinghouse or job, and relationship changes.

Leadresearcher Adam Martin, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "Ourstudy shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse theirpsychological wellbeing. And correspondingly, people feel better when they havea longer walk to work."

MrMartin said the study's finding that commuters felt better when travelling bypublic transport, compared with driving, was "surprising".

"Youmight think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commutersmight have been a cause of considerable stress.”But as buses or trains alsogive people time to relax, read, socialise, and there is usually an associatedwalk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up."

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