A five-year study, based in Glasgow and published in the British Medical Journal surveyed 250,000 UK commuters showed cycling and walking had benefits to your likely hood of cancer and heart disease over sitting on public transport or taking the car.
The team who conducted research in Glasgow said cycling took no willpower once it became part of the work routine – unlike going to the gym.
The five-year study compared people who had an “active” commute with those who were mostly stationary. Overall, 2,430 of those studied died, 3,748 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,110 had heart problems.
But, during the course of the study, regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%. The cyclists clocked an average of 30 miles per week, but the further they cycled the greater the health boon.
Statistics also show that obesity costs the NHS millions every year.
In 2014, 65% of adults aged 16 and over were overweight, including 28% who were obese, and the Scottish Government estimated physical inactivity contributed nearly 2,500 deaths in Scotland, and a cost of £91 million per year. If we continue to cycle and keep active, we will reduce the amount of money that the NHS spend on obesity which can then be spent elsewhere.
Cycling will also reduce the number of cars on the road and will be therefore less air pollution – another serious health issue that costs the NHS £1.1billion a year.
I have a bike of my own and cycle to the parliament on a regular basis. I am also the co-convenor of the Cross Party Group for Cycling, Walking and Buses and will continue to promote cycling within the South of Scotland.