How a Bus Ride Makes You Fit

Need to fit more physical activity into your life? Look to public transportation.

man waiting for bus

Medically reviewed in October 2022

Updated on October 28, 2022

Not getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day? Consider taking the bus or train.

Yep, a little public transportation may be just the ticket to getting your body moving. Because although you don't need more stationary bench time at the bus stop, research shows that people who use public transportation tend to exercise more. 

In fact, a 2021 study published in the Journal of Transport and Health found that students who used public transportation to get to campus had higher levels of total physical activity than those who drove. Another study, published in 2018 in the same journal, discovered a similar pattern for adults traveling to work—public transportation users were more physically active than car users. 

Working in your walk
The key is how public-transportation lovers get to the bus stop or train station. Most of them tend to walk or ride their bikes. And in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, those who regularly used public transit—and walked to access it—were three times more likely than car commuters to meet recommended exercise guidelines (30 minutes a day, five days a week). Adding this minor amount of exercise to everyday life is enough to help you not only shed pounds but also lower your risk of a host of diseases, like heart disease.

Added incentive
Public transit is a win-win situation when it comes to managing your time and money as well. It might increase your overall commute slightly, but you save yourself from having to make a trip to the gym or figure out another time to squeeze in a walk. And let's not forget the money you'll save on fuel as well as the reduced wear and tear on your car. 

Interested? Check out your local bus or train ticket prices and schedules to see if taking public transportation would be a good fit for your lifestyle. If your budget is too tight for a monthly transit pass, see whether your employer will sponsor them for staff. 

Article sources open article sources

Crist K, Brondeel R, et al. Correlates of active commuting, transport physical activity, and light rail use in a university setting. Journal of Transport & Health. 2021;20:100978. 
Batista Ferrer H, Cooper A, et al. Associations of mode of travel to work with physical activity, and individual, interpersonal, organisational, and environmental characteristics. Journal of Transport & Health. 2018;9:45-55.
Lachapelle U, Frank LD. Transit and health: mode of transport, employer-sponsored public transit pass programs, and physical activity. J Public Health Policy. 2009;30 Suppl 1:S73-94.

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