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The Best Ways to Get to Work, According to Science

Stashed in: #health, Awesome, Cycling!, Transportation!, Transportation, Cycling, #bikelife

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Bike commuting FTW!!!

Today I learned that #bikelife has many money and health benefits. 

As Gizmodo’s own Alissa Walker has explained before, increasing the number of people who walk in a neighborhood has the power to increase property values and neighborhood community. “Walking is the simplest, most cost-efficient way to improve a city’s economic and environmental viability,” Walker writes. 

Meanwhile, a good overview of this evidence about cycling to work is a sprawling review in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports called Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review, that evaluated 16 different studies dealing with everything from an association between cycling and lower instances of colon cancer to simple cardiovascular fitness benefits. But overall, 14 of the 16 studies showed health benefits to cycling to work, even when the pace is slower and the distance short.

More importantly, 14 of the studies showed that there’s a strong inverserelationship between cycling and mortality–whether from cardiovascular disease or colon cancer. Their conclusion is straight forward: Riding work will improve your fitness, reduce the risk of death by cardiovascular disease or cancer, as well as risk of obesity.

Wallace Stevens famously composed his poems while walking to work every day at an insurance company. One of my favorite mystery writers, Michael Gilbert, wrote many novels while commuting on the train to and from his legal practice in London. There's just something about driving in particular that seems inimical to that kind of rhythmic and creative multitasking, at least for me.

I wonder if that will still be true once self driving cars are taking us from place to place. 

I much prefer walking to biking. 

I commute both to, from, and for work using public transit. Not having to drive lets me listen to audio books and the audio version of the Economist (reading while moving makes me nauseous). In a week I get through about a weekly issue of the Economist and one book (I try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction). I definitely couldn't do that if I drove. It would be too distracting. If I lived closer to work, I would definitely walk instead of taking public transit.

I can see self-driving cars being a real health problem via lack of exercise, as they'll deliver you right to your destination. While with public transit you usually have to do at least some walking to get to a transit stop. 

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