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article imageWant to live longer? Then cycle to work

By Tim Sandle     Apr 22, 2017 in Health
Glasgow - Want to live longer? Reduce your risk of cancer? Lowe the chance of heart disease? The answer is to cycle to work, according to a new health study.
Two-wheels good, four-wheels bad might sound a little Orwellian, but it is the outcome of a five-year study of 250,000 British commuters conducted by the University of Glasgow. As well as cycling the study showed some benefits from walking to work, again compared with the motor vehicle. The study compared and contrasted people who had an "active" commute (cycling and walking) with those who were mostly stationary (such as taking public transport or driving).
Of the 250,000 people in the study 2,430 died. Moreover, 3,748 people were diagnosed with cancer and 1,110 were confirmed to have heart problems. The rates were lower with those who took a more active route to work. The headline figures from the study are:
Regular cycling reduces the risk of death from any cause by 41 percent.
Frequent cycling lowers the incidence of cancer by 45 percent.
Cycling to work reduces the risk of developing heart disease by 46 percent.
The Siva Cycle Atom - a portable power pack and generator that charges as you ride
The Siva Cycle Atom - a portable power pack and generator that charges as you ride
Siva Cycle
These effects were apparent after smoking, diet or how heavy people are had been taken into account, and seem to affirm cycling as one of the optimal forms of exercise.
With the research there was a break even point. To see the low risk condition kick-in a person would need to cycle for 30 miles each week. From then on, the more a person cycled the lower the risks of developing the diseases became. With walking the effects were more with reducing heart disease. The threshold here was with people who walk six or more miles per week.
In a statement, Dr Jason Gill told BBC Health: "This is really clear evidence that people who commute in an active way, particularly by cycling, were at lower risk." To encourage these behaviors the researcher added: "What we really need to do is change our infrastructure to make it easier to cycle - we need bike lanes, to make it easier to put bikes on trains, showers at work."
The research is published in the British Medical Journal under the title "Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study."
More about Heart disease, Cycling, Stroke, Cancer, Exercise
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