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Cycling to work cuts risk of heart disease and cancer by almost half

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Cycling: high intensity. Stock picture

Cycling: high intensity. Stock picture

Cycling: high intensity. Stock picture

Cycling to work cuts the risk of developing heart disease and cancer by almost half, research suggests.

Walking to work is also good for you, although it does not offer the same benefits as taking a bike, experts from the University of Glasgow found.

The new study on 264,337 people, 52pc female, found cycling to work is linked to a 45pc lower risk of developing cancer and a 46pc lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to driving to work or taking public transport. Overall, cyclists had a 41pc lower risk of premature death from any cause. Walking to work was associated with a 27pc lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 36pc lower risk of dying from it.

But there was no link with a lower risk of cancer or dying early from any cause in walkers, the study found.

People who preferred to stroll to work also had to walk for two hours a week in total to see health benefits, at an average speed of three miles per hour (5kmh).

Experts behind the study, published in the 'British Medical Journal' (BMJ), said the lower benefits seen for walking compared to cycling could be down to several factors.

These include the fact cyclists covered longer distances in their commutes, and cyclists were generally more fit.

Dr Carlos Celis-Morales, from the University of Glasgow, said: "Walking to work was associated with lower risk of heart disease, but unlike cycling was not associated with a significantly lower risk of cancer or overall death.

"This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists, typically 9km per week, compared with 50km per week, and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling."

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