Active travel means choosing to complete short journeys in a more active way. This could be by walking, cycling, or taking public transportation, instead of using a car.
Making active travel part of your everyday routine has numerous physical and mental health benefits, making it a worthwhile alternative to driving. This article will explore some of the benefits of making the switch and choosing active travel options more often.
Improve physical fitness
Walking or cycling is a great way to get in some daily, low-impact exercise and can significantly improve your overall health. Cycling to work can help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles and improve balance and coordination.
Active travel has even been proven to prevent early death. Active travel can help individuals maintain a healthy weight, improve their overall fitness levels, and lower their risks of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Taking part in active travel and making it part of your daily routine can help you lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Reduced air pollution
It’s well-known that emissions from private vehicles and public transport are one of the UK’s primary sources of air pollution. The annual death rate attributed to human-made air pollution is estimated to be between 28,000-36,000.
The WHO and Sustrans have recommended shifting from making short journeys by car to active travel alternatives such as walking and cycling.
If you want to reduce the amount of air pollution in your area, and lower your carbon footprint, consider switching to cycling or walking instead of driving for short journeys. Not only will this help combat air pollution in your area it also has numerous health benefits that come with being more active.
Improved Mental health
According to a report by Sustrans, 1 in 6 UK workers will suffer from depression, anxiety or stress-related illnesses at some point. An increase in physical activity, such as gentle walking or cycling, is proven to positively impact our mental health and general well-being.
People who take part in gentle exercise benefit from improved moods and better sleep quality and are less likely to suffer from severe depression and anxiety.
Improve the population’s health
It’s clear that active travel benefits the health of individuals who choose a more active lifestyle. However, it also has health benefits for the wider population and can massively improve our environment.
For a start, it reduces the CO2 emissions in the air making our towns and cities clearer and healthier places to live, reducing our risk of chronic illnesses. Additionally, if more people choose to walk or cycle, there will be an increased need for more green spaces, creating more biodiversity in our environment.
Furthermore, active travel can help to build stronger communities. By walking or cycling, individuals are more likely to interact with others in their local community, which can help to make social connections and encourage a sense of belonging. This can positively impact mental and emotional well-being, as well as reduce social isolation and loneliness.
Active travel can also help to create safer and more inclusive communities by encouraging the development of infrastructure that supports cycling and walking, including bike lanes and footpaths.
In conclusion, active travel is a simple and effective way to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can also benefit the environment and help to create stronger communities.
By choosing to walk, cycle, or use public transportation, individuals can incorporate regular exercise into their daily routine, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and improve cognitive function.