Nav: Home

Cycling or walking to and from work linked to substantial health benefits

April 19, 2017

Active commuting by bicycle is associated with a substantial decrease in the risk of death from all causes, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared with non-active commuting by car or public transport, finds a study in The BMJ today.

Walking is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but the risk of death from cancer was no different than non-active commuting, the results show.

Many studies have shown that cycling and walking are linked with health benefits, but there is still some debate about the strength of these associations. So researchers at the University of Glasgow set out to investigate the association between active commuting and incident CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality.

The study involved 264,377 participants (average age 53 years) recruited from the UK Biobank - a database of biological information from half a million British adults.

Participants were asked to record the types of transport they used to get to and from work on a typical day. Options included walking, cycling and non-active (car or public transport). During an average five year follow-up period, information on hospital admissions and deaths were recorded.

After adjusting for several influential factors, commuting by walking was associated with a lower risk of CVD incidence and mortality. However, commuting by cycling was associated with the lowest risk of these - as well as lower risks of all cause mortality and cancer.

Mixed-mode commuting (a combination of active and non-active transport) was also associated with some benefits, but only if the active component comprised cycling.

Furthermore, a lower risk for CVD incidence was only evident among the walking commuters who covered more than six miles a week (equivalent to two hours of weekly commuting by walking at a typical pace of three miles an hour).

The researchers point out that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and they outline some limitations could have introduced bias.

Nevertheless, they conclude that "the findings, if causal, suggest population health may be improved by policies that increase active commuting, particularly cycling, such as the creation of cycle lanes, cycle hire or purchase schemes, and better provision for cycles on public transport."

In a linked editorial, Professor Lars Bo Andersen at the Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences, says active commuting has the potential to substantially reduce the costs of cardiovascular disease (estimated at £15bn each year in the UK) and to save many lives.

He argues that the UK has neglected to build infrastructure to promote cycling for decades and the potential for improvements to increase cycling and the safety of cycling is huge.

"The findings from this study are a clear call for political action on active commuting, which has the potential to improve public health by preventing common (and costly) non-communicable diseases," he writes. "A shift from car to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health."
-end-


BMJ

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.