Public Health news: Active Travel

Your Mind, Body and the Planet.

September 2022

Active Travel

In the last issue of Healthier Times, we talked about how we can eat to stay healthy and to protect our environment. In this issue, we will look at how we can boost our health and the health of the planet with active travel. Active travel simply means making journeys in physically active ways - like walking, wheeling (using a wheelchair or mobility aid), cycling, or scooting.  Active travel is a convenient and free way to get moving [1].

Active travel benefits our physical health by keeping us active. Research shows that people who cycle to work could reduce their chances of early death and cancer diagnoses [2]. 

Physical activity can also benefit our mental health, so active travel is good for our minds as well as our bodies - and the planet! It can help to keep us connected to our communities and improve our overall wellbeing. Studies show that people who cycle report having better mental health and feeling less stressed and lonely [3]. 

Active travel helps to keep our air clean and tackle climate change by reducing the emissions we'd make by using cars and other petrol/diesel powered vehicles. It is estimated that road transport is responsible for around a fifth of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions [4]. Anything we can do to reduce our emissions will help reduce the effects of climate change. By opting to walk or cycle, you can quickly and easily cut emissions.

Active travel is accessible to everyone. There are lots of adapted bicycles and E-bikes that allow people of all ages and mobilities to get where they need to go actively. Often, cycling can make travel more inclusive, with adapted bicycles acting as a mobility aid for those who have difficulties walking. E-bikes produce no tailpipe emissions, are incredibly efficient, and still provide significant health benefits.

[1]         "Paths for All - Active Travel," [Online]. Available: Paths for All: About Active Travel.

[2]         "Imperial College London - Health," [Online]. Available: Imperial College London: Walking or cycling to work associated with reduced risk of early death.

[3]         "Imperial College London - Science," [Online]. Available: Imperial College London: Cycling is the healthiest way to get around cities.

[4]         "ONS - Road transport and air emissions," [Online]. Available: Office for National Statistics: Road transport and air emissions.