Cycling: healthiest mode of transport for city dwellers

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Cycling: healthiest mode of transport for city dwellers
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A study published in the Environment International journal has revealed that cycling is the best form of transport for our health.  The study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) was carried out over two years in seven European cities. 

The study analysed how people moved about the city, looking at the habitual modes of transport for 8,802 volunteers living in Anvers, Barcelona, London, Örebro (in Sweeden), Rome, Vienna and Zurich. The results showed that cycling was the healthiest mode of transport for city dwellers.

You can also read: Reducing cars in cities: the proven health benefits

Cycling is less stressful and gives you more energy

Scientists asked participants what types of transport the were using and how frequently.  Types of transport included traveling by car, motorbike, public transport, bike, electric bike or on foot. Participants were questioned about their general health, their social interactions and their energy levels.  In particular their mood and tiredness levels.

After two years, the study discovered that cycling was the most beneficial mode of transport for our health.  In particular, participants noted that their general health improved thanks to cycling regularly.  They felt on better form, less stressed and less lonely than people who used their car or public transport.

Walking also has positive effects on our health

Walking took second place after cycling according to the study.  This mode of transport is also associated with good health, more energy as well as more contact with your friends and family.  The study’s author Ione Ávila Palencia stated that, “The study has allowed us to analyse the effects of travelling on our health in a more realistic fashion as city-dwellers today tend to use many modes of transport.”

The study showed that in contrast to cycling, participant believe they were generally less healthy than if they traveled by car or public transport. 

All seven European cities that took part in the study showed similar results.  However it appears that the percentage of people who use their bike to travel about towns in the Netherlands and in Denmark are much higher than in the rest of Europe.  Work still needs to be done to raise awareness about the benefits of cycling on our health.

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