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Besides the visible benefits, regular physical activity pays off when it comes to overall health. Exercise helps keep blood pressure in check, lowers triglycerides and raises HDL- (“good”) cholesterol levels, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases pain, improves mood, increases energy, and combats insomnia.
Many people, though, find it hard to squeeze one more activity into an already busy day. If that’s the case, teaming up the daily commute with exercise might be a win-win combination.
The new study surveyed almost 51,000 people living in the UK about their commuting habits. The participants also gave information about their height and weight (to calculate body mass index, or BMI), ethnic group, socioeconomic status, and presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity. Here’s what the results showed:
“These groups tend to be disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease, fatal injuries caused by cars, social exclusion, and pollution, all of which can be improved through a modal shift to cycling, walking, and using public transport,” commented the researchers.
Besides riding your bike or walking to work, here are some ways to move more without giving up too much time:
(Am J Prev Med 2013;45:282–8)