Pedal power to boost fitness
Study shows big benefits of bike travel
LONDONERS who cycle are up to SIX times fitter than bus, train and car commuters, according to research carried out by Brunel University.
Research from the Uxbridge-based campus of the university shows that people who use their bikes as transport are four times more likely to meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity, than those who don’t cycle.
Public health researcher Glenn Stewart uncovered these results in a report recently published in the Journal of Public Health.
He analysed the English Active People Survey (APS) to compare those who reported using their bikes as transport, to those who did not.
Mr Stewart said: “I am surprised by the size of the effect rather than the effect itself.
“People are often put off by the thought of being active for 150 minutes a week but if this is made part of getting around, it almost becomes hard not to meet guidelines.
“Cycling 15 minutes to and from work, five days a week, would mean 150 minutes a week without even trying.”
This report was a part of Mr Stewart’s doctoral thesis. He continued: “Given that the effect size rises in central London, where there have been investments in cycle infrastructure, promoting cycling as a means of transport has enormous potential for public health decision makers as a way of getting people fitter in the UK.”
London Cycling Campaign, with more than 12,000 members and 40,000 supporters in London, added their support to promoting cycling as a transport mode and calls for further investment in cycling.
Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner, said: “We already know from the Department of Transport that spending on cycling infrastructure offers much better value for money than most transport infrastructure projects.
“This study also confirms that ‘utility’ cycling, as a simple transport option even for short journeys, can help people rapidly reach their recommended physical activity levels.
“The key to getting more people to cycle such journeys is, though, safe space for cycling.”
n CYCLIST: Mayor Boris Johnson commutes by bike