Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

People Who Bike To Work Live Longer, Have Lower Risk Of Cancer

People Who Bike To Work Live Longer, Have Lower Risk Of Cancer

People who cycle to and from work have a much lower risk of developing heart disease and cancer, a new study has found.

"A shift from vehicle to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health", added Professor Lars Bo Andersen, from the Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences.

Shifting to cycling or walking could not only save lives but save up on many lengthy stays in the hospitals.This counted for individuals who caught heart disease and cancer later on in life due to their sedentary lifestyle choices.

"Some cities are taking a leading role in doing that, like London and Manchester, which are doing some fantastic things".

The five-year study conducted by the University of Glasgow found that bike commuters have a 46 per cent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, are 45 per cent less likely to find themselves suffering from cancer than workers who take the vehicle or the train to work instead, and also see a 41 per cent drop in early death from any cause across the board.

Many studies have extolled the virtues of cycling and walking in keeping us healthy.

Experts behind the study said the lower benefits seen for walking compared to cycling could be down to several factors.

Published today in the BMJ, the study has found that cycling to work is associated with a 45 per cent lower risk of developing cancer and a 46 per cent lower risk of heart disease, compared to a non-active commute.

Mainly because people who prefer to stroll to work actually have to walk for two hours a week in total to see any health benefits at all, compared to a short bike ride.

People who cycle to work have a substantially lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease or dying prematurely, and governments should do all they can to encourage more active commuting, scientists said on Thursday. He added that "walking is generally a lower intensity exercise".

The research involved 264,377 people with an average age of 53 whose data forms part of the UK Biobank - a database of biological information from half a million British adults.

2,430 of those studied died, 3,748 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,110 had heart problems.

Co-author Dr Carlos Celis-Morales said that cycling may be more beneficial than walking because cyclists tend to travel further.

"There's an urgent need to improve road conditions for cyclists and transforming local roads and streets into places that people feel safe and want to be", he said.

These would create 'major opportunities for public health improvement, ' he added.

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