Walking, Cycling, and Taking Public Transit to Work Improves Wellbeing

Want to arrive at work in a brighter mood? Hang up those car keys and put on your walking shoes.

A study published in Preventative Medicine has found that people who stopped driving to work and instead walked, cycled, or took public transit benefited from improved wellbeing at work. In particular, they were better able to concentrate and were under less strain.

Researchers looked at eighteen year’s worth of data from 18,000 commuters, ages 18-65, in the UK. The data included psychological elements, such as feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, insomnia, and being unable to face problems.

According to lead researcher, Adam Martin, “One surprising finding was that commuters reported feeling better when travelling by public transport, compared to driving. You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress. But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialize, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up.”

Of course, for this to happen, your home and work need to be close enough to walk or cycle to, or there needs to be some serviceable public transit between the two. Failing that, you’ll just have to hold out for self-driving cars.

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Stäudinger.

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