Posted on 21/11/2012

Could a Bus Pass Improve Health?

Could a Bus Pass Improve Health?

Does something as simple as a free bus pass improve health for the elderly?

Research has shown that a free bus pass may be a contributing factor to good health among older people. The research found that older people who use buses are more likely to take part in ‘active travel’ (walking or cycling, for example). The study – carried out by researchers at the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine UK – is interested in promoting ‘incidental’ physical activity; physical activity such as walking which is a by-product of activity that has another purpose, such as visiting a friend or going to the shops.

It’s known that even a small amount of physical activity can reduce the risk of disability in older people. Using public transport is likely to increase physical activity levels which may reduce the risk of developing life-threatening diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

What did the study find?

Almost 17,000 people were studied over the four year period, which also took into account socio-economic factors. It was found that those who walked regularly (between 3 and 5 times a week) had significant health benefits over those that partook in physical activity less than 3 times a week.
Did the study support a free bus pass for over 60's?

The study concluded that the subsidiary of a free bus pass for those over 60 is ultimately beneficial to health. Although the cost to the taxpayer is around £1 billion per year, the cost to the NHS over disability and physical inactivity conditions is substantially more, at over £10 billion per year.

Here at NRS we understand that physical activity may not be possible for everybody. We supply a huge range of mobility aids to help promote independent living and to help people get out and about, improving their levels of physical activity and potentially improving general health. As this report shows, even the smallest amount of walking can be beneficial to an older person; we have a range of walkers, rollators and caddies to assist those that struggle with mobility.

Take a look at our comprehensive range or contact a member of our friendly team for more information.

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