Increase your mental and physical well-being by cycling or walking to work
Here’s another good reason to ditch your car and other mode of transport to lower your carbon footprint and save the environment. It will also improve your health! A study conducted by University of Anglia (UEA) researchers have shown that active commuters that walk or cycle to work were able to concentrate better and under less strain as compared to those that drives.
Even going by public transport was preferred as opposed to driving based on data from 18,000 British commuters over a decade. Researchers said that policies encouraging people to leave their cars at home will contribute greatly to their well-being. Besides physical benefits of exercise, results from this study suggest that there are positive psychological effects too.
This study conducted at UEA’s Norwich Medical School and the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, utilises data on nearly 18,000 adult commuters from across Britain over 18 years. Out of this group, 73% said that they drive to work, with the remaining commuters comprising of 13% who walked, 3% who cycles with the remaining 11% going by public transport.
The scope of study includes psychological effects like feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, and inability to face problems. Other numerous factors studied were also that will affect well-being like income, having children, shifting house or job and changes in relationship.
Active commuters were found to have a higher level of wellbeing than those who travelled by car or public transport. Analyses of data from commuters ditching vehicular transport modes and switched to cycling or walking show that they became happier after the switch.
Lead researcher Adam Martin, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School mentioned that the longer people spent commuting in cars, the more it will impact negatively on their psychological well-being whereas people will feel better when they have a longer walk to work.
Another surprising find was the fact that people felt better when they travel by public transport instead of driving considering the fact that disruption to transport might contribute to their well-being.
However it was also noted that the time spent travelling on buses or trains also allow people time to relax, read, socialise, that appears to cheer people up. The UK Faculty of Public Health embraced the findings of this study by saying that, “Streets that were for people, rather than cars, promoted neighbourliness and helped everyone to have happy communities”.
(Last Updated 31st January 2015)