The new research reveals the miraculous benefits of walking and cycling to work. In addition to improved physical health, it reduces the risk of heart attacks, the new study explains. Co-authors of this research, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are two Olympic-medal winning triathletes and also the alumni of the University of Leeds.
The incidence of heart attacks was extremely less in areas where cycling or working to the work was a common thing. It applied to both men and women. It suggests that a lack of exercise and physical activity is a big risk factor for heart attacks. Other risk factors of a heart attack include obesity, smoking, alcohol, and diabetes.
The new research has found that walking and cycling to work has some additional health benefits. Those who followed it experienced a 1.7 percent reduced risk of heart attacks. This study is published in the “European Journal of Preventive Cardiology”.
Alistair Brownlee who is a co-author to this study shared that;
“Our study at the University of Leeds shows that exercise as a means of commuting to work is associated with lower levels of a heart attack. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and we support initiatives to help everyone become and stay active.”
Researchers and government both have acknowledged the lack of physical activity to be a contributing factor to declining health. The UK Census data from 2011 reveals that among 43 million employed people (all between 25-74 years old) in England, only 11.4% of people are physically active. It further said that walking (8.6%) is more common than cycling (2.8%).
Chris Gale is a Consultant Cardiologist and professor at the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds. Being the first author of this study, he says that it couldn’t be said conclusively that traveling to the work actively would reduce heart attacks.
He further adds;
“The effect of active commuting is fairly modest when compared with the stronger determinants of cardiovascular health such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and regular exercise. However, this study clearly suggests that exercising on the way to work has the potential to bring nationwide improvements to health and wellbeing.”
By active commuting, he means traveling by foot or cycle. British Heart Foundation has contributed to the funding of this study. The current aim of the British Government is to encourage people to travel by cycle and make it at least double by the end of 2025.
Chris Heaton-Harris is the Cycling and Walking Minister. He emphasizes on benefits of active traveling for people as well as for the environment. He says that this research is a strong piece of evidence to convince people on traveling on foot or a bike. He says that;
“To help get more people walking and cycling, we have invested £2 billion over five years. On top of this, we are providing a £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund to increase provision for separated bike lanes on main roads, which will let thousands exercise safely as part of their daily commute.”
This study suggests that it is time to change travel habits. Not only it is a good way to start a day but also improves heart health and overall body fitness.