Turns out that if you bike, walk or take transit to work, you’re more likely to have a lower BMI (body mass index) and body fat percentage than those who drive. A UK longitudinal study of the associations between active commuting and public transit with likelihood of being overweight confirmed that being physically active on your trip to and from work is sufficient to have a positive impact on your health.

Quoting a summary of the results from RCN Publishing: “Compared with commuters who used a car or motorcycle, those who were more active on their journey to work had BMI scores 1.10 and 0.72 points lower, respectively. This equates to a difference in weight of 3kg (almost half a stone) in men and 2.5 kg (5.5lb) in women. Results for percentage body fat were also significant.”

This clearly demonstrates the public health benefits of encouraging and enabling people to walk, bike or take transit to get around. Perhaps most interestingly, the benefits from using public transit were equally significant to walking and cycling,

Associations between active commuting, body fat, and body mass index: population based, cross sectional study in the United Kingdom

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4887 (Published 19 August 2014)