Science says taking the train is better for your health than driving to work

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new york city subway

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Taking public transportation is better for your well-being than driving.

If you have a choice to drive or use public transportation, research suggests you should take the train.

Studies show that driving 10 or more miles a day takes a severe toll on your body - mentally and physically. Time spent behind the wheel can cause anxiety, a rise in blood sugar, increased cholesterol, and a decline in life satisfaction.

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"The longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological well-being," reported Adam Martin of the University of East Anglia in the UK after teaming up with the Centre for Diet and Activity (CEDAR) to analyze 18 years of data on nearly 18,000 commuters. "And correspondingly, people feel better when they have a longer walk to work."

Interestingly, in Martin's research, commuters reported feeling happier when traveling by public transportation, compared to driving. Riding the train, bus, or subway was better for their mental health, perhaps because it allows people to be productive in a way that is not possible while driving.

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"The most surprising finding was that public transport use improved well-being," Martin told Business Insider. "Although we are not quite sure why this was the case, it could be that people find train or bus journeys more relaxing, with more chance to prepare for the day ahead, catch up with emails, take phone calls, or catch up with friends, for example."

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While most of us can't eliminate the daily commute, we can change the way we do it.

If circumstances allow it, ditch the car keys - your body (and wallet) will thank you.

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