In the news: commuting and wellbeing

The way in which we get to and from work has attracted some attention in the media, as a recent study has shown those who walk or take public transport are more likely to be happier, and have all round better levels of wellbeing.

BBC News explains how the study conducted by the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York and the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School indicated that the exercise of walking or cycling to work generally made people feel better, when compared to driving.

The Independent's report on the study highlights how the combination of exercise to get public transport, and relaxing while on the train or bus can boost commuters’ overall mood. It is said that having time to socialise or read while on a train or bus can make the commute much more enjoyable. The report also draws attention to those who travel to work by car, as the study showed that they are more likely to feel under pressure and experience difficulty concentrating.

The study involved data from 18,000 participants from all over the UK, and was published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

The notion of being active to support mental health and wellbeing is something that is recommended by the NHS. According to NHS Choices, the chemical changes that occur in the brain when you are active can help to lift your mood. The NHS also provides guidelines to help adults to get active, and determine how much exercise is enough. It provides plenty of information and advice on how to maintain mental wellbeing, demonstrating five steps to take to achieve this. Being active is a key part of these steps, and so as indicated by the news reports, making changes to your daily commute, such as walking or taking public transport rather than driving, could make a big difference to your overall wellbeing.

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