Commuters are far more active than they realise, with one in nine walking the equivalent of a marathon every fortnight, a new study suggests.
Research by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 3.5million workers spend 40 minutes a day walking to and from their office – including between trains, climbing escalators and getting to and from stations and bus stops..
Their total daily distance equates to 2.6 miles a day while the typical daily commuter spends 28 minutes on foot.
This includes eight minutes standing, 12 minutes walking, five minutes climbing stairs or escalators – and even three minutes running.
Macmillan Cancer Support’s national events manager Lisa Shorter said: "Many people dream of being able to do a marathon and this shows commuters are actually much more active than they may realise.
"But after an energetic commute, we can see many workers are spending the rest of their day sat down, both at work and at home.
"If workers can do a marathon every fortnight without even realising it, we can’t wait to see what they can do when they set themselves a goal."
Macmillan carried out the survey of 1,221 ahead of its OutRun May challenge in which people are encouraged to raise money by setting their own running goals.
The charity said the results highlights just how unaware people are of their daily exertion getting to and from work.
Such is the strenuous nature of our commute that workers often feel as though they have had a workout afterwards, the research found.
Most health experts recommend that people walk 5,000 steps a day to stay healthy, which is roughly the equivalent of 2.5 miles for the average person.
So the new study suggests that for more than 10 per cent of people, their daily commute is enough for good health. With 40 minutes daily activity, they will also easily meet their 150 minute target for moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
And a recent research by ageing experts in Norway suggests that a vigorous commute could help stave off the effects of sitting in the office all day. Fit people were found to have the best heart health even if they were sedentary for up to 13 hours.
"Our Western lifestyles necessarily involve a lot of sitting, and we spend more and more time sitting on average as we age," said Dr Silvana Sandbakk, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
"But our findings show that being fit plays an important part in successful ageing and may lend protection against the negative health effects of being sedentary."
The survey also found that nearly one in eight employees (12 per cent), the daily commute is the most they move all day – making their commute more active than their sex life and their job.
And one in five (19 per cent) of those who say their commute is the most active part of their day admit to then spending up to eight hours sat down at work.
For one in five people (22 per cent) it’s more evident as they admit their commute brings them out in a sweat.
Meanwhile one in eight (12 per cent) admit all the activity gets them out of breath, and one in four (25 per cent) say it even feels like a workout.
The findings suggest that some workers are so tired when they get home they try to spend most of their evening sitting down.
After walking through their front doors, workers ideally like to spend nearly two and a half hours (149 minutes) sat down watching television.
OutRun May will see thousands of runners setting themselves a total distance to run gradually throughout the month for the charity.