Walking to work every day could reduce your risk of having a heart attack, but only if it’s a fairly long walk.
New research shows that workers who walk for at least 45 minutes total (or a little more than 20 minutes each way) have better cardiovascular health than those who rely on cars or public transportation.
Blood tests revealed that they had much lower levels of C-reactive protein, a harmful molecule known to be linked to an increased risk of blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Elevated CRP levels can indicate dangerous inflammation in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain.
It is well known that regular brisk walking is good for the heart.
New research shows that workers who walk for at least 45 minutes total (or a little more than 20 minutes each way) have better cardiovascular health than those who rely on cars or public transportation (file image)
But researchers at the University of Eastern Finland wanted to see how long workers need to commute on foot to reap the benefits.
They tracked more than 6,000 working men and women to see how they got to and from work.
The volunteers also underwent blood tests to measure their C-reactive protein levels.
The results, published in the European Journal of Public Health, showed that a daily round trip of 15 minutes (or just over seven minutes each way) led to a small reduction (about seven percent) in levels. of PCR, compared to those who drove. or public transportation used.
The researchers said this was unlikely to have a big impact on heart health.
But those who walked for 45 minutes (or just over 20 minutes each way) had CRP levels almost 18 percent lower than other travelers.
The findings could act as a wake-up call for millions of people in the UK who currently commute to and from work by car, bus or train.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that just over 45 per cent of the UK workforce currently drives to and from the office.
Only seven percent walk.
And a 2018 survey of 2,000 adults in the UK found that 40 percent thought a 30-minute walk to any destination was too far to do on foot; Instead, they would prefer to drive or use some other form of transportation.
In a report on their findings, the researchers said so-called “active commuting,” such as walking, could make a big difference in employee health.
“Forty-five minutes a day is associated with lower levels of inflammation,” they said.
“Promoting active modes of transportation, such as walking, could generate health benefits at the population level.”