Do you believe in a happy commute?

There are some well-known physical health benefits associated with walking, such as reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. So walking to work along your local canal could certainly help your physical health - but can it make you happier?

Commuter at Granary Wharf, Leeds Commuter at Granary Wharf, Leeds

If you're a daily commuter, you're probably familiar with traffic jams, road rage, overcrowded trains and buses, anti-social behaviour, uncomfortable temperatures, fumes and delays beyond your control that can make you late for work.

Scientists regularly say such stressful journeys can have a negative impact on your health, but recent reports also focus on people's sense of wellbeing too. The Royal Society for Public Health published a report that states commuting can negatively impact both physical and mental health. And Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), said:

“We know that increasing levels of physical activity can reduce the risk of a range of health problems. But a new study provides additional evidence on the impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing.”

"A new study provides additional evidence on the impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing.”

Professor Mike Kelly

So if your daily commute is a rabid journey of crowded frustration, with the noise of desperate horns and silent glares, you could be healthier and happier if you changed your route to include a walk along your canal. Walking by water is special, and your commute can make life feel better when your journey reflects the calm of ducks and nodding boats across the water.

How you travel to and from work is more than just the time it takes. It's a space that can let you breath and concentrate better for the whole of the working day, and then relax when you're back home again.

How you can change your commute to work

A recent survey by the TUC showed that the average worker in the UK spends 27 days every year commuting to and from work. A few simple changes to your daily routine could save you money, improve your health and make you feel better about your day.

Our canals or rivers can often provide an alternative to busy road routes. Have a look for your office on our canal and river map and see if you could reach it by using one of our towpaths.

Even if you don’t live next to one of our canals, could you park a little way away from your office and walk the last part of your journey along the canal? It may take a little longer, but you’ll arrive at work far more refreshed than if you had spent the past 20 minutes competing for a parking space.

A good walk to work can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

Try it for a week and we think it will become your new favourite healthy habit.

Last date edited: 25 January 2019