A lot of us go to work each day and a major part of that activity each day constitutes our commute from our workplaces and back, but what seems like just a part of our daily routine might hold the key to our better health.
According to a recent study published by the highly esteemed THE British Medical Journal, by adopting a more active commute style like walking or cycling, we can considerably reduce the risk of death as compared to when we use non-active commute methods like driving or taking public transport to reach our offices.
While the research still falls short on exactly how much positive benefit we can derive from active commute methods, the study found a positive correlation between lowered risks of death from all causes and walking or cycling to work.
This is the first comprehensive and acclaimed study in this regard as similar research on the same topic always had some glaring discrepancies like not accounting for variable factors or differentiating on whether cycling or walking is more effective as an active commute method.
The research was led by scientists from the University of Glasgow situated in the United Kingdom. A large-scale study was initiated that looked exclusively at how exactly does active commuting eliminates or lessens the risk of diseases that can cause death like cancer, cardiovascular issues, and other similar health problems. The scientists delved into the UK BioBank, a comprehensive bank of data that contains the biological information compiled from more than five hundred thousand adults from the United Kingdom, and attained details from participants who had an average age of 53. The data set consisted of 264,377 unique people, whose way of commuting each day to work was documented and then their health was tracked through the number of deaths and hospital admissions for a period of 5 consecutive years.
The findings signified that an active commute lifestyle could stand to significantly reduce the risk of being affected by morbid and high fatality diseases like Cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Factors like smoking, diet, gender and place of work were accounted for in the research. Cycling fared better than walking in active commuting as it helps to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality to the lowest range possible.
The findings of this study, however, did not control for factors like comorbidities and obesity as the data for to substantiate these associations was not available with the researchers. However, this study highlighted the importance of adopting a healthy and active commute lifestyle for the individual and underscored the need of formulating a policy at the government level that promote it for the individual like dedicated cycle lanes, subsidy on purchasing bikes and similar initiatives.