Cycling Is The Healthiest Way To Get Around

A recent article in treehugger.com describes and links to two recently published massive studies that once again confirm and add to the body of evidence that cycling is the healthiest way to get around and that investing in ways to encourage and allow more people to make the choice to ride a bike more often yields a large payback to society.

“In the first study, The effects of transport mode use on self-perceived health, mental health, and social contact measures: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study, led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the researchers examined different modes of transport including cars, motorbikes, public transport, bikes, e-bikes and walking. They then questioned 8,000 people in seven European cities, not including the usual suspects of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. From the press release:

The findings, published in Environment International, show that cycling yielded the best results in every analysis. Bicycles were associated with better self-perceived general health, better mental health, greater vitality, lower self-perceived stress and fewer feelings of loneliness. The second most beneficial transport mode, walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health, greater vitality, and more contact with friends and/or family.

The authors conclude with what anyone who rides a bike already knows: “Similarity of findings across cities suggested that active transport, especially bicycle use, should be encouraged to improve population health and social outcomes.””

“The second study, Transport mode choice and body mass index: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from a European-wide study looks specifically at the issue of obesity. According to Hayley Dunning again, the study looked at 2000 urban dwellers who switched from driving to cycling and lost an average of .75 kg (1.6 pounds) and Body Mass Index decreased by 0.24. The study concludes:

In conclusion, we found statistically significant associations between transport mode choice and BMI. Cyclists weighed less than their non-active peers; and people that start or increase cycling will most likely lose weight and vice versa. Promoting active mobility may therefore provide an opportunity to fight the overweight and obesity epidemic, contributing in turn to reduce the very high burden of non-communicable diseases.

For more, read the article here.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.