Taking bus good for older people's health: British study
LONDON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- A new study in Britain found that older people, who used public transport regularly, walked faster, showing some links between taking bus and health.
The study by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) revealed on Friday found that two thirds of adults over 60 rarely or never use public transport, even though it's free and brings health benefits.Researchers from University College London (UCL) and the University of Manchester analyzed data from over 7,000 adults from a major national study, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
They found those who did not use public transport had a faster decline in walking speed compared with those who used public transport frequently. Among older adults who chose not to use public transport, most of whom used cars instead, the decline in walking speed was the greatest, the findings revealed.
One third of adults over 60 said they did not use public transport due to a lack of infrastructure and the poor quality of transport provided. Another third said they had no need as most had access to a car.
Lead author Dr. Patrick Rouxel from UCL said: "Those who use public transport frequently are more physically active and have stronger lower limb muscle strength than non-users of public transport. So making public transport more accessible to older people could prevent some age-related declines in functional mobility."
Co-author, Professor Tarani Chandola from the University of Manchester, said, "Using public transport more than once a week is not only environmentally friendly, but it has all these other benefits such as maintaining people's health and physical activity and reducing their social isolation."
Chandola also warned of the adverse effect of driving for the older, saying "this study goes further and suggests that there is a faster decline in mobility among those who drive compared to those who take a bus or a train. Improving the quality and access to public transport may help prevent future health problems among older adults and to maintain their physical capabilities."