Think about it. If there was a major announcement by a large pharmaceutical company that they had come up with a pill that could reduce the risk of death from cancer and heart disease by close to 50%, what would happen? It would be a headline news story around the world and people would soon be lining up at drug stores to get this amazing pill.
Well, it’s happened, but it’s not a pill, it’s a bicycle. A major study in the UK over five years with 250,000 people showed that cycling to work can cut the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%. In fact, in the study, regular cycling reduced the risk of death from any cause by 41%.
So what’s the reaction? Some ho-hum media reports about the study, and…. people will continue to get in their cars to drive to work or go to the local corner store.
Cyclists in the study were riding an average of 30 miles (48 km) a week, but there are greater health benefits for people pedaling longer distances. Also, by reducing the risk of death from any cause, cycling appears to be much safer than a sedentary lifestyle. This is an interesting fact for people who stay at home or sit in their cars because they think cycling is too dangerous.
Of course, all this isn’t really surprising news for most of us. It’s well known that regular exercise can keep us healthy and is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.
But why single out cycling in particular? Well, in addition to providing the necessary exercise, it’s a very handy way for getting from point A to point B, something that most of us have to do on a daily basis. It is far more cost effective than using a car. And there’s more. Since a very large percentage of the greenhouse gas emissions comes from motor vehicles, cycling can do much to help avoid the impending catastrophe that’s about to befall our planet.
So why aren’t all levels of government promoting cycling as their number one priority? Some people may point to the pocket change that governments have started making available for various cycling related projects. However, when compared to what governments spend on health care, roads, and environmental issues, cycling is only getting minuscule pocket change (very minuscule) .
In the meantime, spread the word to your friends and relatives, cycling is good for you.
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