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Taking Bus or Train Might Improve Your Health

Ever stop to think that your mode of transportation to and from work might influence your health? According to a Medical News Today article, a study conducted in Japan found that this may be the case.

The study surveyed 6,000 participants, averaging in age from 49-54 years old, about their health and their daily mode of transport. People who either used a bus or train to get to work were at a 44% lower risk of being overweight and 27% less likely to have high blood pressure versus those who drove. They also had a 34% lower likelihood of developing diabetes than their driving peers.

In the study, presented at a 2015 American Heart Association conference in Florida, researchers noted that the findings weren’t yet proven to be universal. Since the study only surveyed people in Japan, there could be cultural differences that limit the scope of the results. Another contributing factor to the disparity that was not pinned down by the study could be the conditions of local public transit.

But it could be true that sharing mass transportation with total strangers is beneficial to health. A UK study mentioned in the article demonstrated that switching from driving to walking or commuting by bus or train reduced body mass index (BMI) in study participants. And it might be a preferred fad that’s catching on. According to a survey conducted last month on young professionals living in the Greater Boston area, access to public transportation was the biggest deciding factor when choosing where to live.

Of course, one could get some of this possible health benefit without throwing away the car keys forever. if this seems like something worth exploring in your life, you can always try taking public transportation one day a week and see how you feel on those days. You might find it worth the added hassle of deciphering your community’s bus or train schedules.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.

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