BHF responds to new research showing that commuting by bike is good for the heart

20 April 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

A man on a mountain bike

New research 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.

This study analysed data from 264,337 participants from UK Biobank who were asked questions about their usual mode of commuting to work and then followed up for 5 years. The new cases of cancer, heart attacks and deaths in that 5-year period were assessed and related to their mode of commuting. 

he researchers, at the University of Glasgow, believe that their findings suggest that policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike may present major opportunities for public health improvement.

What we said

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, said: “It is worrying that levels of physical activity in the UK are falling as this is associated with an increasing number of heart attacks , strokes and other conditions - including cancers.

“Commuting to work by walking, or better still, cycling, is a great way to combine physical activity into your normal daily routine. This study shows that people who cycle to work or walk for two hours a week have a significantly reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.  

“It is paramount to make physical activity easier and more accessible if we are to reduce the burden of ill health caused by inactivity. Local authorities and workplaces should support this by making using active transport as a means to get to work an easy option.”

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