When going to work might be good for you
Getting to work on time can be part of your wellness regimen if you travel by bicycle or by walking. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that such commutes were associated with reduced risk of early death or illness compared with commuting by car.
The Lancet study used census data from 1991 to 2016 covering more than 300,000 commuters in England and Wales. They were able to link the data with registrations of death and cancer diagnoses. The use of census data in this study allowed large numbers of people to be followed up for a longer time.
Of course, with more people working from home, the study’s findings are yet another indicator that being sedentary isn’t good for you.
“Cities in the US. .are more spread out compared to European cities,” says Jamie Schuh, a physical therapist at Aurora Sports Health in Grafton, WI. “So this method of commuting might not be as feasible for all. Instead, think about taking a walk during your lunch break or choosing a further parking space or bathroom to use at work. Also consider walking or biking to local stores or meetings.”
According to the study, biking to work provided the clearest benefits. Data showed that, compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had:
- 20% reduced rate of early death
- 24% reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attack and stroke)
- 16% reduced rate of death from cancer
- 11% reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis
Whether you’re on your way to work or heading home, your pace matters. The urgency of getting to your destination on time helps you keep walking or biking quickly.
If you are returning to work now that the COVID-19 shutdown is easing, it’s a good time to rethink your transport and exercise options. Schuh makes these suggestions to increase your daily movement and develop strength.
- Walking around your house or up and down the stairs
- Squats or sit-to-stands from a sturdy chair
- Wall push ups
- Doing lunges or single leg step-ups on stairs
- Using any home cardio equipment you may have
- Dancing to your favorite music
- Using exercise, strength training, yoga or stretching videos
- Gardening and lawn work
About the Author
Jo Linsley, a health enews contributor, is a digital content strategist at Advocate Aurora Health. With decades of experience in writing and editing, she continues to aspire to concise and inspiring writing. She also enjoys knitting and singing as creative outlets and for their meditative qualities.