It's no secret that walking or biking to work is a healthy alternative to driving, but according to a new study published in The Lancet, even commuters taking public transit to work are better off than those traveling by car.
As reported by FastCo.Exist, researchers Ellen Flint and Steven Cummins of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine looked at data for about 73,000 men and 84,000 women in the UK between the ages of 40 and 69. Of the men, those who took public transit instead of driving had a lower BMI by 0.7 points and were five pounds lighter. Women transit commuters were found to weigh two pounds less than their car-driving counterparts.
The study also took factors like diet, income, and smoking habits into consideration, none of which were shown to account for the BMI differences between the two groups of commuters. This suggests that the small amount of walking required to go to and from bus stops and train stations is still a significant improvement over no physical activity at all.
Of course, the commuters who travel by bike easily have the rest of us beat. Men who biked to work weighed an average of 11 pounds less than those who took their cars.
There are plenty of reasons to ditch your car for public transit, which is exactly what an increasing number of Americans have been doing in recent years. If environmental benefits or money-saving aren't enough to convince you to take the bus, remember that it could be the closest thing to a workout you get all day. And if you're stumped for good gift ideas for commuters, check out this helpful guide.
This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.