The Benefits of an Active Commute

Cycling or walking to work tied to decreased health risks

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(RxWiki News) Compared to taking a car or bus to work, walking or riding your bike might significantly improve your health, according to a new study.

More specifically, this study found that cycling to work was tied to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and death from any cause. For walking, the benefits appeared to extend to a reduced risk of death from heart disease.

This study looked at 263,450 participants in the United Kingdom who were around 53 years old on average. Over an average follow-up period of five years, the study authors monitored these commuters for hospital visits and deaths.

Those who had an active commute were less likely than those who drove or took public transportation to work to die of heart disease, these researchers found. Those who rode their bicycles to work also saw a decreased risk of death from cancer or any other cause.

The study authors pointed out that this study was observational and their findings only established a link — not cause and effect. Still, they wrote in their study that initiatives to encourage active commuting could "reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions."

Talk to your health care professional before starting a new exercise regimen.

This study was published in The BMJ.

The study authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest. The Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, Scottish government and Northwest Regional Development Agency supported the UK Biobank.