Cycling slashes risk of cancer, heart disease and early death

23 April 2017

“Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health."

Experts insist a commute via cycling could give a person a 45 percent less chance of developing the illness, as well as a 46 percent lower threat of heart disease. They also indicate a 41 percent 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 well-being for five years and recording any counts of cancer, heart disease or death.

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They discovered those adults who walked to work lowered the possibility of developing heart disease by 27 percent 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 percent less likely to be exact.

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“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 bikes - such as cycle lanes, city bike hire or subsidised cycle purchase schemes – may present major opportunities for public health improvement.”

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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 cycles to work regularly, while a mere four percent 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.

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