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New Study: Riding the Bus Leads to Improved Health

 Woman with brown hair sitting on the Silver Line bus looking out of the window.

Riding the bus every day may be healthier than you think. A new study found that riding a bus or train to work instead of driving a car could significantly reduce the risk factors related to heart disease.

The study that took place in Osaka, Japan was recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 in Orlando, FL. The team assessed data of 5,800 adults from Japan. Participants underwent a health examination in 2012, in which they were asked how they traveled to work. The subjects were divided into groups based on whether they took public transportation (bus, train, or both) to get to work, those who walked or cycled, and those who traveled by car.

Compared with drivers, study participants who used public transportation to get to work were 44 percent less likely to be overweight, 34 percent less likely to have diabetes, and 27 percent less likely to have high blood pressure. These are well-known risk factors for heart disease, which is a condition that kills around 610,000 people in the US every year. Researchers  were surprised by these results. They also learned that men were more likely than women to drive to work. This means that women were more often picking public transportation, walking, or cycling.

Overall, there are some limitations to the study, like the likelihood for general health and well-being to simply be better for chosen groups. But the team still believes these findings warrant further investigation.

“People should consider taking public transportation instead of a car, as a part of daily, regular exercise. It may be useful for health care providers to ask patients about how they commute,” said Dr. Tsuji in regard to how he general population should consider their commuting habits for a better understanding of their overall well-being.

The connection between riding the bus and health is no secret. In fact, a study was published earlier in the year found that switching to public transportation to commute to work reduced body mass index (BMI) in participants.

If you’re looking for another small way to take a positive step for your health, consider checking out the bus!

Read the full study on the American Heart Association blog: http://blog.heart.org/taking-public-transportation-instead-of-driving-linked-with-better-health/

Written by The Rapid

The Rapid (Interurban Transit Partnership) is the authority that provides a variety of public transportation services for the Grand Rapids metro area and beyond. It is organized and operates under Michigan Public Act 196 of 1986.