Author Topic: Why Taking the Bus is Good for your Health  (Read 1119 times)

Offline Suzy Scott

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Why Taking the Bus is Good for your Health
« on: September 18, 2011, 02:10:41 PM »
Why Taking the Bus is Good for your Health
Tuesday 13 September 2011

• First study of its kind reveals catching the bus achieves half the Government recommended daily exercise
• Daily bus users clock up annual equivalent of 11 marathons
• Regular bus travel beats car for health benefits
• Daily short walk to and from bus stop and destination can burn 22,630 calories a year.

The simple act of taking a journey by buscan help achieve half the Government recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day, according to a study released today.

Commissioned by Greener Journeys, whose aim is to encourage more people to consider using buses, and conducted by Dr David Lewis of Mindlab International, the study investigated the health benefits of walking as part of the bus journey.

The 100 participants recorded their steps with a pedometer when travelling the same journey by bus and by car. Steps were recorded ‘door to door’; to accurately compare distances walked to and from the bus or car as part of the journey.

Data from the 424 journeys found that participants averaged a daily walking distance of nearly1.3km when taking a return journey by bus (two trips).

National Findings – return journey Bus Car
Distance walked(km) 1.3 0.3
Calories Burnt (cal) 62 16
*average statistics from study participants; one return journey (two trips)

The study comes at a time when the Government now advises that short bursts of activity can add up to form the recommended 30 minutes, five times a week.

“A recent study in Taiwan found that for inactive people, 15 minutes ofdaily exercise reduced mortality risk by 14%,” said Dr Lewis. “We know walking can assist in reducing the risk ofcancer,type two diabetes and heart disease, and walking has a number of proven physical and mental health benefits.”

“Taking the figures from our study, someone who travels by bus daily will walk almost 460km per year - that’s equivalent to walking 11 marathons. This would be of substantial benefit to the two thirds of British adults who, according to the 2010 Health Survey, do not achieve the recommended levels of exercise”.

Dr Lewis stresses that while these seem like large numbers, they comprise of short bursts of regular exercise that can be easily incorporated into a normal routine especially as 87% of households in Great Britain are within a 6 minute walk of a bus stop.

“Too often people spend hundreds of pounds on gym memberships that they give up on after a month. They’re not used to scheduling exercise and it feels like a chore or event that they can’t fit into their busy lives,” he said.

“The real health benefits from exercise occur when it is regular. Start with something you can stick to for six weeks, such as walking as part of a bus journey and you’ll have a much better chance of it forming a healthy habit that can be built on.”

“This Greener Journeys study clearly demonstrates that using the bus instead of the car could enhance both personal and national wellbeing,” he said

When participants of the study were surveyed about their experience, almost half said they would change the way they travel to use the bus more often, citing the chance to take more exercise and the easeof catching the bus as the biggest reasons.

Claire Haigh of Greener Journeys said the chance to exercise and burn calories may be a tipping point for commuters who are already concerned about the high levels of CO2 pollution produced by cars - often occupied by the driver only.

“It’s not just health and the environment that will benefit. Inactivity is conservatively estimated to cost the economy £10 billion per year* and active travel – that includes walking – has the potential to reduce these costs substantially,” she said.

Greener Journeys, is a coalition of the UK's major bus companies, which has an ambition to shift a billion car journeys to the bus by 2014. This can be achieved if one in 25 car journeys are switched to the bus and will save 2 million tonnes of CO2.

In 2010, Greener Journeyscommissioned an experiment that examined stress levels of driving versus taking the bus, and found that taking the bus was a third less stressful than driving.

The Greener Journeys coalition includes major operators Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach.  For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com

To view the video news release, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkcEEu4JAnM&feature=channel_video_title
Suzy Scott
Dundee, Scotland, UK
Forum Administrator (and founder) of A&TVBF and DABF

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