Walk to work and watch the weight fall off

Taryn Davies
Published: May 11, 2015

The answer to getting a little more fit and losing weight could be as simple as walking to work, new research has found.

The study found that a small change in your routine could reduce your BMI over two years, and all it takes is changing your way of getting to work.

Instead of hopping in the car to get to work, use public transport, cycle or walk your way to work to better your health.

The findings revealed that this change could not only have an impact on your weight, could also be beneficial to your overall well-being and your mental health too.

In the past 40 years the number of people who commute in England and Wales has risen by 25%, and not only does this impact the environment but our waistlines too.

The research team at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) hope that this change could impact the levels of obesity across the population.

Walk to Work Week

The research comes at the start of Walk to Work Week, part of National Walking Month, an annual campaign run by Living Streets which promotes walking for all. You can create some healthy competition in the workplace by taking part.

Being overweight or obese is linked to a wide range of diseases, most notably type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke; so it’s important that the nation takes control of their weight.

Lead researcher Adam Martin from UEA’s Norwich Medical School says that the study reveals just the impact this small change can have on the weight of the population. It's as simple as building regular physical activity into their daily routines.

weight loss

Walking to work is great for the environment as well as your waistline

More than 4,000 adults were surveyed in three waves for three years for the results, giving information about their weight and the way they travelled to work.

The study found that a BMI reduction of 0.32 was made if participants switched from travelling to work by car to cycling, walking or using public transport.

This typically means a weight reduction of about 1kg.

These numbers, of course, increased the longer the commute people had. For those with a commute that lasts longer than 30 minutes, the change was definitely more noticeable with 7kg in weight loss and a BMI reduction of 2.25.

If the participants switched to using a car to get to work, it was found that there was an average BMI increase of 0.34.

Philip Insall, Director of Health for Sustrans says that it's important that we know that not exercising can be as dangerous for our health as smoking.

It's important to build physical activity into our day-to-day lives to live a long and healthy life, plus a healthier population can impact the NHS too.