Cycling to work 'provides major opportunities for health improvement'

Dutch courage.     S-F

Dutch courage. S-F

Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40 per cent lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the five years of follow-up. The novel research on the matter has shown that better biking paths need to be constructed for the sake of these fitness buffs.

"This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists - typically 6 miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week - and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling". They did not have a significantly lower risk of heart disease, however, while mixed-mode walkers did not have a significantly lower risk of any of the health outcomes we analysed. The study took place in a quarter of a million people so it carries a lot of weight.

Lord Tebbit never mentioned walking to work, but this has also been shown to provide major health benefits. Yet it is not the same as cycling to one's professional premises.

Participants were asked to record the types of transport they used to get to and from work on a typical day.

Their vital signs and health stats were monitored for half a decade.

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Overall, people who cycled to work were found to have a 41 per cent lower risk of premature death from any cause, compared to those who drove or took public transport. This was compared to the sedentary lot who went to work by bus or auto. The results proved to be of great interest.

These policies could include "the creation of cycle lanes, cycle hire or purchase schemes, and better provision for cycles on public transport", they wrote in theBritish Medical Journal (BMJ). Meanwhile, compared to biking, walking to work lowered the risk of early death also by 27 percent. "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". Any potential differences in risk associated with road accidents is also accounted for in our analysis, while we excluded participants who had heart disease or cancer already. Thus in order to stave off such malignant diseases as cancer, cycling was the ideal form of exercise.

In addition to reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, "a shift from auto to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help to reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health", he added.

Cycling in London is notoriously unsafe but, it turns out, braving the streets may have surprising health benefits. The participants indicated on a questionnaire their modes of transportation - be it by vehicle, bike, public transportation, or foot.

Experts insist a commute via cycling could give a person a 45 per cent less chance of developing the illness, as well as a 46 per cent lower threat of heart disease.

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