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Plan a Healthier Commute

man in a suit and helmet rides bicycle to work

Driving to and from work can be one of the most stressful parts of your day. And it could affect your health in other ways, too, by contributing to outdoor air pollution.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has classified outdoor air pollution as a carcinogen, which means it causes cancer. However, air quality is improving in many US cities, and you can help. By leaving the car at home and using alternate transportation, you can contribute to cleaner air in your community.

Carpooling and taking public transportation are two ways to help cut down on pollution. Going a step further and using non-motorized transportation offers even more health benefits because walking or biking to work is a chance to be more active. The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. That means even just a 15-minute walk to and from work each day can add up to a habit that helps lower your cancer risk.

Biking to work is getting easier in many communities that are building bike paths and lanes, and making other improvements. There are advantages to employers as well: Some studies show cycling to work is linked to fewer employee sick days. Companies can encourage bicycling through bicycle reimbursement programs, installing bike racks, and promoting events like National Bike to Work Day and National Bike Month activities. 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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