Cycling to work is not just good for the environment and easier on your pocket, it could also do wonders to your cardiovascular health. Although this was previously a broad assumption, two different studies have now proven this to be a fact. They were published in Circulation and the Journal of the American Heart Association.
But this is not the first time research effort has gone into the benefits of cycling to work. Other studies have also proven that cycling is linked to lower the risk of heart disease. However, the recent studies are the first to specifically investigate the health benefits of cycling on the heart.
The study published on Circulation was done on 45,000 Danish men and women aged between 50 and 65 years. The findings were that cycling regularly resulted in about 11 to 18 percent fewer heart attacks for the subjects after a 20-year period.
What was even more intriguing was that these benefits could be achieved with as little as 30 minutes of cycling a week. It was also discovered, after a 15-year period, that those who kept on cycling after five years had a 25 percent reduced risk of heart disease compared to those decided to stop cycling.
The results do not prove that cycling prevents heart disease, just that it can help improve cardiovascular health. However, it was proven that cycling could help avoid the occurrence of more than 7 percent of heart attacks. The Circulation study hence recommended that people take up cycling, as it was an easy way to remain active in an age when sedentary life has taken a grip on our lives.
The Journal of the American Heart Association was based in Northern Sweden. The study took 10 years, and the researchers wanted to see what effect cycling had on incidences of obesity, hypertension, glucose tolerance, and hypertriglyceridemia in men and women.
The study found out that there was a 15% reduction in incidences of obesity, a 12% reduction in risk of diabetes or prediabetes, a 13% reduction in risk of high blood pressure, and a 15% reduction in incidences of high cholesterol levels. The benefits were even evident in people who made the switch from passive commuting to active commuting long past the onset of the study.
Cycling, in the long run, is therefore as affective as following the popular Nutrisystem diet, which has been shown to bring about clinically meaningful reduction in body weight. Nutrisystem, a program highligthed in Lodlois, boasts a number of clinical studies.
The research team, headed by Paul Franks, also affirmed some well-known facts about cycling, including the fact that it is more time-efficient, cheaper, and better for the environment. This study also reiterated the cycling benefits highlighted in the sister study – that this form of exercise is much easier to take up than going to the gym, joining a sports team, or having regular jogs.
Even more encouraging was the finding that even a small amount of cycling could provide these benefits in full. In fact, beyond a certain point, cycling offers little gains when it comes to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.