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People commuting by public transport are also happier than those going by car, say researchers

Cycling or walking to work makes people less stressed and more productive, according to a new study by researchers at two British universities.

Studies have repeatedly shown the health benefits of cycle commuting, and surveys suggest there are psychological ones too.

A notable feature about this latest research, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School and the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, is the length of the study – 10 years – and the sample size, with data from 18,000 commuters across the UK analysed.

Of those, 73 per cent travelled to work by car, 13 per cent on foot, 11 per cent used public transport and 3 per cent went by bicycle, reports BBC News.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, also found that compared to commuting by car, people going to work by public transport also had improved concentration and less stress once at work.

As part of the study, researchers looked in detail at a small group of people who had switched from commuting by car or public transport to more active modes of transport, and discovered that they had become happier once walking or riding to work.

They also assessed factors including sleep disruption, inability to face up to problems, unhappiness and feelings of worthlessness, as well as the impact of level of income, parenthood, changes in relationships and changing jobs or moving house.

Adam Martin of UEA's Norwich Medical School, who led the research, commented: "Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing. And correspondingly, people feel better when they have a longer walk to work."

However, he said it was “surprising” that people going to work by public transport felt happier than those commuting by car.

"You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress,” he explained.

"But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialise, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up," he added.

A survey of 2,500 cycle commuters published earlier this month to coincide with National Cycle to Work Day found that 89 per cent of them said riding their bike home helped them switch off from the working day, and 66 per cent said that their relationships had improved.

Some 82 per cent of people who pedalled to work also claimed to feel less stressed and around half said riding a bike to work meant they could cope with a heavier workload.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

6 comments

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mrmo [2077 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29175088

I can't face going to the daily mail site to see the crap that Is being written there if some of the comments on the BBC site are taken as a guide.

Something really needs to be done about drivers, far too many are heading for heart attacks the level of stress they seem to exhibit. Just a pity that when they die behind the wheel there are innocent passerbys who will get run over.

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bikebot [1924 posts] 1 year ago
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mrmo wrote:
Quote:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29175088

I can't face going to the daily mail site to see the crap that Is being written there if some of the comments on the BBC site are taken as a guide.

They're pretty much the same people posting on both sites.

The Daily Fail however tends to be much funnier thanks to it's complete lack of moderation. I used to be a fan of ceefax as well back in ye olde days, the letters page produced some absolute gems of the complete swivel eyed loon category.

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ragtag [217 posts] 1 year ago
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"But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialise, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up," he added.

Really? The walk is indeed the best bit. Getting on any train or bus for a commute is similar to a scrum in rugby.

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dazwan [321 posts] 1 year ago
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The BBC article is meh! The comments however, PRICELESS!!!

I must have missed something as all the replies imply the article commanded that we all ditch our cars and take the bus or cycle. I just read that it had stated the obvious (not driving to work makes you HAPPY  4 ) and made no recommendation whatsoever that we all take to the pavements on our two wheeled death machines (as they seem to see all us cyclists). The replies from all the drivers remind me of the USA pro-gun fanatics, they have the same sort of attitude to the prospect of having to give up their cars. I guess once a tank of fuel costs a weeks wages, they'll soon change their minds.

As for the people who "live too far from work" I get that from everyone in the office where I work. Almost all of them live closer to work than me!

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bikebot [1924 posts] 1 year ago
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dazwan wrote:

As for the people who "live too far from work" I get that from everyone in the office where I work. Almost all of them live closer to work than me!

There was a comment on the Evening Standard the other week, from someone saying what a waste of money the cycling infrastructure was as only the most serious pro level athlete could cycle in from Zone 4.

Zone 4 to Zone 1 is about 8 miles.

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MaxP [81 posts] 1 year ago
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bikebot wrote:
dazwan wrote:

As for the people who "live too far from work" I get that from everyone in the office where I work. Almost all of them live closer to work than me!

There was a comment on the Evening Standard the other week, from someone saying what a waste of money the cycling infrastructure was as only the most serious pro level athlete could cycle in from Zone 4.

Zone 4 to Zone 1 is about 8 miles.

I hope they had a support car  4