Want to have better mental health? Start walking or cycling, says researchers

CHARLES LEE | 2nd Jun 2015 | NEWS

Not too long ago, we have reported that a research had suggested the co-relation between walking/cycling and obesity. Given the extensiveness of health benefits that could be derived from physical activity, it would not be a surprise to many that the same activity of walking or cycling could also do wonders to one’s mental well-being. Indeed, a joint research conducted by the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) has affirmed that people who walk or cycle to work regularly have better mental health than those who commute to work by driving.

The United Kingdom-based research, which has been published in international scholarly journal Prevention Medicine, found that the longer people sat in a car while traveling to work, the lower their psychological well-being was. On the other hand, those who walk or cycle to work possess better mental health. The report appears to be contradictory to an earlier report produced by the United Kingdom Office of National Statistics, which states that cyclists were found to be less happy as compared to those who drive to work.

Mr Adam Martin, the lead author of the study of which 18,000 respondents of age between 18 and 65 years old took part in, said: “One surprising finding was that commuters reported feeling better when travelling by public transport, compared to driving. You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress. But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialise, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up.”

The conclusion of the research was based on various psychological aspects such as sleepless nights, unhappiness and the inability to face problems.