University of Leeds researchers in England found an association between heart health and active commuting among data for 43 million British working adults ages 25–74. The data, from the 2011 U.K. Census, showed that 11.4% of workers used active transport—8.6% walked and 2.8% cycled.

Data analysis showed that, for women who walked to work and men who cycled to work, there was an associated 1.7% lower incidence of heart attack during the following year. Study authors noted that while the effect of active commuting is modest when compared with other factors that influence heart health—such as smoking, obesity or diabetes—it still shows potential for widespread improvements in health and well-being.

Governments also need to support infrastructure changes to enhance the safety of cycling and walking routes so people feel more confident about not using cars.

Find the study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (2019; doi:10.1177/2047487 319876228).

See also: Bike to Work, Live Longer