Cycle to work to chop heart disease risk by a third, shows deep transport study

Newly published research has demonstrated that active travel commuting slims the risk of mortality by all causes, trimming the odds of developing and dying from a plethora of ailments

Stemming from the University of Cambridge, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, alongside Imperial College London, the group collectively investigated the commuting habits of 358,799 people aged 37 to 73 years old.

The size of the pool makes this study particularly significant, adding significant weight to a well documented pool of previous studies on the links between an active commute and health benefits.

“Given that our sample is substantially larger than that used in all but one of these previous studies,5 we suggest that our results shift the overall balance of evidence to a position that more clearly supports the potential contribution of active travel to the primary prevention of CVD in commuters,” said the researchers.

Heart disease aside, the positive side effects of an active commute were shown to have significant impact on the likelihood of having a stroke or developing cardiovascular issues.

Of the quite substantial pool, 8.5% mentioned commuting by bike, while two-thirds relied on cars as part of their commute. Careful analysis of the data revealed that those with active habits had an 11% lower risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke, with a 30% lower risk of death by these causes.

Those describing their active commute habits as regular (three or more times per week) chopped their risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases by approximately 43%.

In drawing its conclusions the study offers: “Although not all associations were significant, the general pattern of our results indicates that, irrespective of other physical activity, more active patterns of travel, compared with exclusive car use, were associated with reductions in risk of incident and fatal CVD and all-cause mortality. Of note, in regular commuters, more active patterns of travel were associated with a reduced risk of both incident (11%) and fatal (30%) CVD; the reduction in CVD mortality was increased to 43% among those who used more active patterns for non-commuting travel. The latter exposure was also associated with a significant, albeit smaller (8%), reduction in all-cause mortality among those who were not regular commuters.”

To read the study in full, head here