Cycling slashes risk of cancer, heart disease and early death

20th Apr 17 | Fitness & Wellbeing

Now is the perfect time to get on your bike!

Cycling slashes risk of cancer, heart disease and early death

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. They also indicate a 41 per cent lower chance of dying prematurely from anything.

Scientists from Glasgow University's Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences studied the travelling habits of nearly 300,000 middle-aged men and women, assessing their wellbeing for five years and recording any counts of cancer, heart disease or death.

They discovered those adults who walked to work lowered the possibility of developing heart disease by 27 per cent compared to people who drove or relied on public transport. However, the walking wasn't enough to fend off cancer and other serious health problems, researchers noted.

But adults who cycled for any distance to get to work were a lot less likely to suffer from heart disease, develop cancer and pass away within the next five years - over 40 per cent less likely to be exact.

"Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health," Dr Jason Gill of Glasgow University said.

"If these associations are causal, they suggest that policies to make it easier to commute by bike - such as cycle lanes, city bike hire or subsidised cycle purchase schemes - may present major opportunities for public health improvement."

He hopes this will trigger a change in the way transport systems in Britain are developed, making roads more bike friendly as seen in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Currently, only about seven per cent of British adults cycle to work regularly, while a mere four per cent do it every day, with reasons such as heavy traffic and not being able to shower at the office impacting the numbers.

Findings of the study were published in the BMJ.

© Cover Media Group 2017

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