Yesterday, I shared new research on brake dust pollution that should have us all ready to leave our cars in the garage for good. But today, I’d like to offer one more incentive to rethink your daily commute. Because according to another recent study, it might just spare you a heart attack down the line…
This new research appeared in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology late last year. And it looked at data from the 2011 U.K. Census, featuring more than 40 million employed people in England between the ages of 25 and 74.
Data showed that just over ten percent qualified as “active commuters”—which in this case meant that their main mode of transport to and from work was either by bike or foot.
Ultimately, the rates of active commuting varied geographically, with some areas having active commuting rates as low as five percent, and some areas higher than 40 percent. Overall, walking was the more popular choice—favored by 8.6 percent of commuters versus the 2.8 percent who biked to work.
But either way, a clear trend emerged: In areas where active commuting was more common, there was a sharp decrease in heart attacks among both men and women over the next two years.
The study authors admit that this difference is largely attributable to community differences in weight, exercise levels, smoking status, and diabetes rates. But even when these factors were all accounted for, there was still a small improvement in heart attack risk—just shy of two percent—among walkers and cyclers.
Either way, it’s hard to argue with the fact that active commuting is just plain healthier. And if you can ditch your car to bike or walk to work, this is just one more reason why you absolutely should.
A public health imperative
The U.K. government has been pushing for greater active transportation for a while now, in an effort to increase physical activity, decrease traffic congestion, and lower rates of air pollution.
Yet rates of active commuting remain low… much like they do on our side of the pond.
The plan, however, is to double the number of active commuters by 2025. And I can only hope that the United States intends to devote ample resources to encouraging the same goal. Because goodness knows, we need it… and not just to cut down on pollution, either.
In fact, you may recall that simply taking the bus can cut your risk of diabetes by nearly 20 percent.
This research showed that subjects who walked to work benefited from a 40 percent lower risk of diabetes and a 17 percent lower risk of high blood pressure. (Compared to those who drove to work, that is.)
Not surprisingly, the effects these travel modes had on weight were similar: Public transportation cut risk of being overweight or obese by 15 percent. Walking lowered these odds by 20 percent. And biking to work cut obesity risk by an even more impressive 37 percent.
So, folks, if that’s not a good enough reason to retire your car, I really don’t know what is.
P.S. There are also other ways to naturally protect your heart. And I outline a step-by-step plan for keeping America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke—at bay in my Ultimate Heart Protection Protocol. To learn more about this online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Walking and cycling to work linked with fewer heart attacks.” Science Daily, 12/18/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191218213915.htm)