Next Stop a Longer Life

Type Article

Journal Article


R. Conway; A. O'Farrell

Year of publication



Ir Med J








Aim A request was made to the Department of Public Health in early 2019 for some interesting statistics (funtistics) for a planned health promotion campaign encouraging public transport users to increase their physical activity levels by alighting one stop earlier and walking to their destination. For a novel presentation of the benefits of increasing physical activity it was decided to calculate the potential increase in life-expectancy that a given amount of physical activity would correspond to (at a population level). Method Estimated increase in weekly walking time was calculated for the Dublin Bus commuter walking the last stop of their journey. The reduced risk of mortality was estimated for this increase in physical activity and applied to Irish life tables to calculate change in life expectancy. Results Alighting from a bus one stop earlier in Dublin would lead to an average of 4.42 minutes additional walking (44.21 minutes additional walking per week for a commuter). In the Dublin Bus commuter population, this leads to an estimated 50 day increase in life expectancy (male population). Conclusion At the lower end of the dose response curve for physical activity, health benefits include: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of diabetes, psychosocial benefit, reduced risk of musculoskeletal problems. For the prevention of weight gain and some cancers, activity at the upper end of the range (1000 MET.min/week, approximately 300 minutes of walking/week) is thought to be required.