Riding a bike to work? You may live longer

In a new study, researchers found that people who cycle to work have a lower risk of dying.

They found people who cycled to work had a 13% reduction in mortality, likely as a result of the health benefits of physical activity.

There was no reduction in mortality for those who walked or took public transport to work.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Otago and elsewhere.

Increasing “active transport’ is being promoted as a way of addressing health and environmental issues.

But the association between different modes of transport, such as cycling, walking and public transport, and health outcomes has remained unclear.

The researchers analyzed data from 3.5 million New Zealanders, which are about 80% of the working-age population of New Zealand over a 15-year period.

They found more than 80% of people in New Zealand traveled to work by car on census day, with only 5% walking and 3% cycling.

There were gender differences in mode of travel to work, with two percent of women cycling compared with four percent of men, but more women walking or jogging (seven percent), compared with men (five percent).

A higher proportion of younger people cycled, walked or took public transport compared with older people.

The team says the findings lend support for initiatives to increase the number of people commuting to work by bike.

Increasing cycling for commuting to work in a country with low levels of cycling like New Zealand will require policies directed at both transport and urban planning, such as increasing housing density and implementing cycling networks.

While the study found no association between walking or taking public transport to work and a reduction in mortality, the team says there are other reasons to promote these modes of transport.

Walking to work has physical-activity-related health benefits other than mortality reduction—including the prevention of heart disease and diabetes—and taking public transport has the benefit of emitting less carbon.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Caroline Shaw from the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago.

The study is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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