Study Shows Lower BMI in Non-Car Commuters

September 05, 2014 / Kristy Huffman,RN

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Harvard Medical School just released a new study that shows walking, biking or even riding public transit to work can aid with weight control. People who commuted by foot, bicycle or public transportation demonstrated a lower body mass index (BMI) in comparison to people who commuted by car. Men had BMI scores between 0.9 to 1.1 points lower than men who drove themselves. That equates to about 6.6 pounds lighter for a man or 5.5 pounds lighter for a woman of average height.

Why would people who take public transit be linked with a healthier body? The answer is exercise! It usually requires some walking or biking to get to and from the bus stop, metro or train station. The United States Census Bureau reports that the average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes and one in four commuters leave their county to work. That’s a lot of time spent in the car!
If you live close enough to work, think about changing your commute mode to walking or biking. If leaving the car at home is not an option for you, then here are some options to help you get more exercise:

  • Get up and move more often throughout the day. Regular exercise and physical activity helps your body’s systems function better, decreases your risk for diabetes and heart disease and is the key ingredient along with a healthy diet for losing weight!
  • Count steps. Wear a pedometer all day long to count your steps and track your progress. A good long-term goal is 10,000 steps per day, which is the approximate equivalent of walking 5 miles!
  • Take walks on your breaks, at lunch and when you get home. Divide your walking into three parts: A slower pace to warm up, a faster or brisk pace to get your heart pumping and a slower pace to cool down.

At Molina Healthcare, we even have a bike sharing program run by our wellness department that is available in some of our office locations to encourage biking among employees.

Tell us how you stay active while working a fulltime job in the comments!

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Category: Physical Health