Cycling slashes risk of cancer, heart disease and early death

Cycling to work cuts risk of cancer: study

Walking to work was found to reduce the chance of heart disease by 27 per cent, but there was no link with a lower risk of cancer or premature death.

"Physical activity helps to reduce the risk of cancer and, while the researchers are cautious about concluding too much about their results, this study helps to highlight the potential benefits of building activity into your everyday life", said Clare Hyde, Cancer Research UK's health information officer.

The researchers said cycle commuting may offer greater health benefits than walking because cyclists cover longer distances, get more intense exercise, and have higher levels of fitness than walkers.

"Some cities are taking a leading role in doing that, like London and Manchester, which are doing some fantastic things".

Using your bike to get to work could cut your risk of developing cancer and heart disease by nearly half, according to new research by the University of Glasgow.

Walking to work was also beneficial, but not to the same degree.

Numbers have risen in recent years thanks to the Government's Cycle to Work Scheme - a tax-efficient scheme that allows employers to buy and hire out bikes to their staff for a regular payment. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors.

A big British study, recently published, tracked a over a quarter of a million British commuters over five years and found significant reductions in deaths from Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and found that deaths from cancer were halved.

People who got to work by motor vehicle, but biked for a portion of the commute also showed some benefit.

Dr Carlos Celis-Morales, from the University of Glasgow, said: "Walking to work was associated with lower risk of heart disease, but unlike cycling was not associated with a significantly lower risk of cancer or overall death".

For example, cyclists commuted an average of 30 miles a week, compared with 6 miles a week for walkers. He added that "walking is generally a lower intensity exercise". The new cases of cancer, heart attacks and deaths in that five-year period were assessed and related to their mode of commuting.

He said:"There's an urgent need to improve road conditions for cyclists and transforming local roads and streets into places that people feel safe and want to be".

The researchers believe that their findings suggest that policies created to make it easier for people to commute by bike may present major opportunities for public health improvement.

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