Use public transport to stay fit

March 27th, 2009 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 27 (IANS) People who use public transport daily are thrice more likely to meet recommended physical fitness norms than others.
Doctoral student Ugo Lachapelle and Lawrence Frank, associate professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), used 4,156 travel surveys from Atlanta, Georgia, to examine whether transit and car trips were associated with meeting the recommended levels of physical activity by walking.

Because transit trips by bus and train often involve walking to and from stops, the study found that users are more likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week.

Millions in Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, familiar with the nitty gritty of daily commuting on local trains, buses and other modes of transport and rushing from point to point, would know what the researchers were talking about.

People who drove the most were the least likely to meet the recommended level of physical activity, the study cautioned.

“The idea of needing to go to the gym to get your daily dose of exercise is a misperception,” said Frank.

“These short walks throughout our day are historically how we have gotten our activity. Unfortunately, we’ve engineered this activity out of our daily lives,” he added, according to an UBC release.

The researchers conclude that making transit incentives more broadly available may produce indirect health benefits by getting people walking, even if it’s just in short bouts.

The study was published in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

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