Jueves, 19 Julio, 2018

Cycling to work 'provides major opportunities for health improvement'

More cycle lanes would encourage more to make the journey to work by bike campaigners said More cycle lanes would encourage more to make the journey to work by bike campaigners said
Cris De Lacerda | 20 Abril, 2017, 14:27

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.

Walking to work also brought health benefits, the University of Glasgow researchers found, but not to the same degree as cycling.

Walking is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but the risk of death from cancer was no different than non-active commuting, the results show.

"Some cities are taking a leading role in doing that, like London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff which are doing some fantastic things". In all, 3,748 people who took part in the study were diagnosed with cancer and 1,110 with heart disease.

In the University of Glasgow study, walking to work was also seen as beneficial, although lagged behind cycling in some aspects.

Such as the fact cyclists covered longer distances in their commutes than the walkers, cycling is a higher intensity exercise and cyclists were generally more fit.

Walking to work was associated with 27 per cent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 36 per cent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, but not cancer or premature death overall.

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

"Get on your bike" was the advice that Norman Tebbit gave to millions of unemployed people in the 1980s.

However, walkers need to travel more than six miles a week to feel the benefits, while cyclists need to do at least 30 miles.

The people taking part in the research were aged 52 on average at the start of the study and were followed for five years.

Jason Torrance, head of policy at the walking and cycling charity Sustrans said cycling to work is "a proven way for people to improve their health, to help their local economies and to improve their productivity at work".

During the five-year period, 2,430 participants died, 496 of them from heart disease and 1,126 from cancer. 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 findings from this study are a clear call for political action on active commuting, which has the potential to improve public health by preventing common (and costly) non-communicable diseases", he writes.

The British Heart Foundation, said it is "paramount" to make physical activity easier and more accessible to reduce the burden of ill health caused by inactivity.