How much can your health improve by walking or cycling?

Some studies could be stopped before they are even started. Studies like this one, where scientists used mathematical models to figure out "the wave" that is common during sporting events. Others are bound to reach a conclusion that we already knew. Take, for instance, a study on health in London, which shows that by walking and riding your bike more, you will improve your health (and don't forget about this study). We knew that already right? But, just to what extent could your health improve? Here is some real data for you to consider:

A separate paper uses London travel data to identify four archetypal car using groups in London: Claire, a 10 year old girl; Lucy, a 40 year old mother; Tom, a 50 year old man living and working in outer London; and Derek, a 78 year old man. It calculates the increases in physical activity and energy expenditure that would result if they transferred their car journeys to walking, cycling and public transport, with occasional trips by taxi. By doing so, they would expend an average of 139,300 kJ of energy a year, equivalent to an average of 4.5 kg of fat. Lucy would reduce her risk of breast cancer by 25% and increase her life expectancy by between 1 and 2 years, while Tom would enjoy a 20-40% reduction in the risk of premature mortality and around a 30% reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes.

Those are some pretty huge improvements, which is why this is a separate post from the rest of the date I found in the same source article. So, why not get out your walking shoes and take a hike down to the bike store!

[Source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine via Scientific Blogging]

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