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Don't Drive, Get Fit

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Cycling to Work May Benefit Health

If rush hour traffic isn’t enough to make you reconsider your daily commute, perhaps your waistline will. A 2016 study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology finds the more often you bike or walk to work, the healthier your weight will be.

Researchers from the UK polled about 300,000 adults aged 40-69 about their typical commute. Participants chose from driving, cycling, walking, or taking public transportation, or a combination of these choices. Researchers also measured participants’ body fat and BMI.

Compared to the car-only commuters, bicycle-only commuters appeared the healthiest. The cyclists had a lower BMI by about 1.7 units, and an average 3.3% lower body fat. Participants who exclusively walked to work had a lower BMI by about 1 unit, and about 1.2% lower body fat compared to car-only commuters. People who used public transport had similar results to those who walked to work. Results suggest your body will become increasingly more fit when you commute outside of your car.

Driving a car is a fairly sedentary task, and this study gives momentum to the “sitting is the new smoking” movement. We aren’t designed to sit all day. We sit at home, sit in the car, and sit at work. It’s no surprise we have no energy for the gym after work; we convince our bodies to operate at lowest possible capacity all day long.

Conveniently sneak exercise into your day by making your commute your “gym time,” especially while nice summer weather is here. Bike, walk or take public transportation if you can. If it’s simply too dangerous or too far, try biking for errands, adding more walks during the day, or taking the stairs in your office.

Need more incentive? Join the Dole Get Up and Grow!™ Together Healthy Living Challenge and get your coworkers, friends and family active too!

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