Walking or cycling to work could reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by a third, new study finds

If you’re still someone who prefers to sit behind the wheel and drive part, or all of your commute, listen up. New research has found that walking, cycling and even using public transport can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke by 30%.

Related: The best London running commutes 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London examined the relationship between everyday activity and health, by looking at the commuting habits of 358,799 people in the UK from UK Biobank.

Their results found that those commuting by foot, bike or even using public transport dramatically reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular problems or having a stroke. In fact, those who had a more active commute had an 11% lower relative risk of developing heart disease or stroke and a 30% lower relative risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

Although these findings might sound obvious, during the study, which looked at the behaviour of commuters over seven years, researchers found levels of activity as part of a commute to be pretty low. Around two-thirds of those who commuted three or more times a week relied solely on their car. What’s more, only 8.5% of those studied chose to cycle, despite the fact 35% of people in the UK live within easy cycling distance to work (5km).

Related: Why all runners should be walking more 

Of course, it’s worth highlighting that this is an observational study, so it is impossible to conclude that driving to work definitely harms your body. That said, it could be worth swapping your car for a more active form of transport if you’re able to.