Bicycling to work: Cut your cancer risk in half

Fun time with two on a bicycle on a bicycle made for one; Inset: Europeans bicycle everywhere as can be seen by the huge bicycle parking area (Source: Wikipedia).

"Get audio & vocabulary bubbles for this article, touch here."

Bicycles are a vehicle for social change in Europe & the US, reducing pollution. traffic & now proven health benefits.


Bicycling to work: Cut your cancer risk in half


Just riding a few miles on your bicycle to work everyday instead of sitting in your car or a public bus, could add years to your life.

The commuting habits of over 264,000 people in the UK were tracked for five years along with their health in a study at the University of Glasgow in Scotland published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in Great Britain recently.


If you want to live longer, reduce the risk of cancer as well as heart disease, then ride your bicycle to work, the researchers discovered.

You may be able to halve of the risk of cancer and heart disease.

The study looked at both walking and bicycling and compared them to non- active commuters, that is people who merely sat in a car or public transportation. 

Walking to work was associated with a 27% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 36% lower risk of premature death from heart disease. Unfortunately, walking seemed to have no effect on cancer risk.

Walking was most beneficial for those walking over six miles per week.


The benefits of bicycling, however, were significantly greater than walking, with the risk of heart disease reduced by a whopping 45%, the risk of cancer reduced 46% and death from any cause by 41%.

The average bicycling commute to work in the study was 30 miles per week but the health effect increased with the amount traveled. 

Combining bicycling with public transport such as a bus or train ride also produced health benefits.

The obvious implication is that bike lanes and storage for bikes on buses and trains, to make it easier to bike to work, can produce public health benefits for a country as a whole.


The study controlled for the effects of other habits such as smoking, diet as well as weight, so the reduction in cancer risk from biking is not due to weight loss from bike riding.

Having a lean body does not necessarily mean weighing less, so being lean could be a factor as well as biking reducing overall inflammation in the body which is associated with increased cancer risk.

That biking is usually a more intense and longer exercise than walking could also be a reason.

Back to top