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What if there were just one daily change that could improve your health, and even drastically reduce your odds of contracting a serious disease?
Actually, there is. A recent study followed more than 350,000 participants in the United Kingdom, and found that one simple lifestyle difference contributed to vastly different outcomes: Those who walked or biked to work three times per week were 11 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease during the study period. And, they were 30 percent less likely to die (of any cause) during the same time.
Not surprisingly, these results have been replicated by other researchers. Another study followed 263,000 participants for five years, and found that those who biked to work were 41 percent less likely to die during the study period. These participants also demonstrated lower incidences of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Even walking showed benefits; those who walked to work were 27 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.
These results probably don’t surprise you, since we already know that exercise slashes your risk of many different diseases. But since most of us tend to prioritize everything else over exercise, we can often forget to get active -for days or even weeks at a time! Commuting to work is effective because exercise simply becomes a part of your daily routine, and you don’t have to plan for it any further. After all, it’s not like you’ll forget to go to work!
Researchers also hypothesized that biking or walking to work lowers your stress levels. If you’ve ever been trapped in a traffic jam while late to the office, you know how car commuting can stress you out! Lowering your stress not only makes life easier and more enjoyable, but can also protect you from cardiovascular disease.
Making the switch to biking or walking might be easy for some, but more difficult for others, depending on your fitness level and distance to work. Try it just once a week at first, and then increase the frequency of your on-foot or bike commutes. You might even find that you enjoy this time, to prepare for your work day or wind down afterward!