Posted on 18 September 2014
A report published on Monday 15th September reveals that people who stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work benefited from improved wellbeing. In particular, active commuters felt better able to concentrate and were less under strain than if they travelled by car.
These benefits come on top of the physical health benefits of walking and cycling that are already widely documented.
Experts also found that travelling on public transport is better for people’s psychological wellbeing than driving.
The research team studied 18 years of data on almost 18,000 18-65-year-old commuters in Britain. The data allowed them to look at multiple aspects of psychological health including feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, and being unable to face problems. The researchers also accounted for numerous factors known to affect wellbeing, including income, having children, moving house or job, and relationship changes.
The research was carried out by the Health Economics Group at UEA’s Norwich Medical School and the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York. It was funded by CEDAR, a multi-disciplinary collaboration between UEA, the University of Cambridge, and MRC Units in Cambridge.
'Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing? Longitudinal evidence from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey' is published in the journal Preventive Medicine and the study is also mentioned in the BBC news health pages.