Studies have shown that taking public transit is good for your heart, a point Metrolink is promoting in February during federally designated American Heart Month.
Researchers around the globe from Japan to America found that the use of public transit pushes people to walk more, which benefits heart health. They note that individuals who use public transit like Metrolink, Southern California’s regional rail system, get more than three times the amount of physical activity per day than those who drive to work – 19 minutes compared to six. Many walk, bicycle or skateboard to the train stations and bus stops and from there to work, school and other destinations.
Metrolink train riders and other public transit users also avoid the stress of driving in traffic, which can raise blood pressure.
“Metrolink is a heart healthy choice, especially for long-distance commuters who avoid the stress of spending hours driving through worsening traffic,” said Metrolink CEO Art Leahy. His comments were underscored by USC Health Professor Ed Avol, who recently rode a Metrolink train down the busy I-10 Freeway during rush hours.
“Taking Metrolink makes sense on many levels,” Professor Avol said. “It helps deal with gridlock, reduces air pollution, relieves stress and anxiety and reduces personal exposure to pollution, all of which is good for your health.”
Researchers in Japan in 2015 studied 5,908 bus and train commuters, walkers, bikers and drivers from Japanese cities, each an average age of 49 to 54-years-old. Those who rode public transit every day were 44 percent less likely to be overweight and 27 percent less likely to have high blood pressure.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and one of the major risk factors is obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. To keep weight in check, the CDC recommends 22 minutes of daily moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking.
Walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) to access public transit can burn 50 calories in 15 minutes. Walking up steps such as at Los Angeles Union Station or at work can burn roughly a calorie and a half for every 10 steps.
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