Regular readers will already be well aware that cycling and walking are great for your health, but if you want to influence minds, you often need evidence.
The BMJ has published a study into active commuting and the impact it has on various causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Unsurprisingly, it found that it lowered said risk.
Cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors. Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions.
Source: Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study | The BMJ
As with any study there will be weaknesses in the data, particularly as commuting distances were self-reported and the Biobank data used was not necessarily representative of the population in terms of obesity and co-morbidities, likely making the pool healthier than the population as a whole.
However, it is yet another arrow for our Active Travel quiver. Tortured archery metaphors aside, the British Medical Journal is a big deal and people will take notice, which is why this study has seen widespread coverage across mainstream media outlets this morning.
How to use this study
The great thing about studies like this, particularly from the BMJ, or NICE is that they are useful sticks with which to figuratively beat politicians and businesses around the head with.
Write to your councillors, your GP practice, your dentist, your local corner shop or indeed anyone you see fit to get bike parking provided where you need it, or to get them to support active travel initiatives in your area. Send them the link above while you are at it.
Public bodies like councils and health boards have to plan for active travel now that we have the Active Travel and Wellbeing of Future Generations Acts, but it’s worth keeping up the pressure, or showing support for the measures they are taking.