Modes of Transportation Related to Physical Health…

Friday Aug 20, 2010

Regular physical activity has many benefits, including: reducing the risk of obesity and helping people live longer healthier lives. Yet, studies show that less then 10% of adults in the U.S. get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Walking and bicycling for daily transportation are important sources of physical activity, but they have dramatically declined over the last few decades.

Here are some key research findings, supporting the benefits of: walking, bicycling, and using public transportation as important physical activities:

  • People who used public transportation, (i.e. subway, bus, commuter rail, etc.) for any reason, were less likely to be sedentary, or obese – than the adults who did not use public transportation.  Those who use public transportation on average walk 30 minutes or more each day to and from public transportation stops.  Conversely, reliance on the automobile for all travel was associated with higher obesity rates (Environment and Behavior, 2007).
  • Proximity to public transportation stops is linked to higher transit use and, therefore, higher levels of physical activity among adults (American Journal of Health Promotion, 2007).
  • Walking as a form of transportation can have beneficial consequences for communities. Less driving helps relieve congestion. Also, the well-designed landscape and residential density will improve air quality more than the additional roadways. Regulatory and design strategies, including: traffic-calming measures, sidewalks, bike paths, and tunnels – help make communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists (Public Works & Natural Resources, 2002).

Consider incorporating walking or public transportation into your everyday life!  Building-in these habits will help you keep active, burn calories, and maintain overall health.

The main two reasons that people report for not exercising are lack of energy and time. Well, physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous, nor does it have to consume a long amount of time to be beneficial.  It should be fairly easy to fit in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, about five times a week, along with small lifestyle changes such as: parking the car in a farther spot, taking the stairs, or using public transportation – instead of the automobile.

I believe that once you start walking, you become physically active and may start doing additional physical activity, such as: running, or cycling – and you will be on your way to a healthier, happier, and more energetic “you”! 🙂

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