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Calorie commuting: Fit for work

The average UK commuter will burn 324 calories on their journey to and from work

07 Jan 2014

The average UK commuter will burn 324 calories on their journey to and from work

- Commuters in the UK burn 4.9 billion calories on their morning commute alone
- The national average length of a commute is 28.46 minutes, or an hour round-trip
- Exercising while commuting will burn 84,240 calories a year and help the nation individually shed 24lbs in 2014
- Virgin Active finds ‘little things’ like bum clenches on the tube can burn an additional 50 calories 
- Cardiff is the commuter calorie capital of the UK

The Great British commute is as effective as 20-30 minutes on a treadmill according to new research from Virgin Active. On the way to work today the average commuter will have unconsciously stood for 9.62 minutes, tackled 16.1 stairs and walked for 11.33 minutes.

The good news for those who have overindulged at Christmas is that the average commuter will have burnt 162 calories before arriving at work today and a total of 324 calories on their round trip.  The energy expended by a daily commute is the equivalent of a chocolate bar or a jam donut.

The hidden benefits of commuting shines a light on how the ‘little things’ that we do in everyday life can make a big impact to the nation’s health.

Having identified the benefits in commuting, the company behind the research, Virgin Active, has explored small adjustments to morning routines that can make even more of a difference.   To get the nation to embrace activeness, the leading health club group has launched a new multi-million advertising campaign – “Live Happily Ever Active “- to encourage the nation to be more active, and as a result have a happier and more positive outlook on life.   The campaign provides inspiration and motivation around incorporating smaller exercises such as bum clenches, standing on one leg and even laughing into their daily routines.

The national health club group found that simply clenching your bottom 600 times sheds 50 calories, standing on one leg while you brush your teeth for the recommended time can burn 80 calories a day or even laughing for 15 minutes can burn 25 calories, tone your body and improve your overall health.

Hugh Hanley, Head of Personal Training at Virgin Active said, “It’s not always easy to invest time in getting fit which is why this research is so uplifting.  It showed us that even the small things we already do are a step in the right direction. The benefits that we’ve identified about the morning commute are surprising, so imagine the good we can do if we consciously make an effort towards an active and healthy life – things like taking the stairs, rather than the lift or clenching your bum on your commute to work can make a big difference”.

For those already making a conscious effort on their commute the results are startling. On average, commuters on bikes cycle for 25.22 minutes burning 256 calories, runners are on the go for 12.29 minutes burning 125 calories and walkers walk for 21.56 minutes expending up to 88 calories before they have reached the office.

Hasina Aktar, Dietician said, “Virgin Active is encouraging commuters to use their time wisely. Just doing a few extra things like bum clenches and standing on one leg, on top of your regular commute, can expend over 500 Kcals a day. This could lead to you loosing 1 pound of body weight per week.

“Laughing more is another great route to a healthy body and mind. Laughter burns calories, reduces muscle tension, increases amount of oxygen in the blood, exercises the heart and produces endorphins - happy hormones”.

While the tube journey burnt the most calories in London the different trips to work had interesting effects across the UK. Virgin Active found that Birmingham is the running capital in the UK with nearly 10% of people running on their journey to work. Hilly Sheffield unsurprisingly is the motor city of the UK with 71% choosing their cars for their commute while Belfast is the home of 2 wheels with 7% jumping on their bike to get to work.