Walking and cycling to work linked with fewer heart attacks

Posted: Mon, 20 Jan 2020 16:02

Walking and cycling to work linked with fewer heart attacks

In areas in England where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the rates of heart attacks were lower for both men and women across the following two years.

The researchers from the University of Leeds acknowledged that this difference in heart attack rates could be partly explained by differences in risk factors for heart disease such as lack of exercise, having obesity, smoking and diabetes across England.

However, for two groups - women who walked to work and men who cycled to work - the protective link remained when the researchers adjusted for these risk factors.

"Finding time to exercise can be tricky given our increasingly busy and often sedentary lives. But exercising doesn't have to involve a pricey gym membership or hours spent on a treadmill," said our Associate Medical Director, Professor Metin Avkiran.

"Upgrading your commute – by swapping the gas pedal for a bike pedal – is a great way to get your heart pumping on a daily basis. If that's not an option, parking a few streets away or getting off the bus a few stops early can help pave the way to a longer, healthier life," he added.

Upgrade your commute

Co-author Alistair Brownlee, double Olympic triathlon champion and alumnus of the University of Leeds also commented on the findings: "The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and we support initiatives to help everyone become and stay active."

The number of people getting to work walking or cycling varied greatly across the UK, with as few as 5% of people walking or cycling to work in some local authorities, compared to as many as 41.6% in other areas.

The research was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

(Source: British Heart Foundation)

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