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Research shows cycle commuters four times more likely to achieve public health exercise targets than non-cyclists, demonstrating health benefits of infrastructure

London cyclists are six times fitter than other commuters, according to research published by Brunel University.

The report, by public health researcher Glenn Stewart in the Journal of Public Health, analysed the English Active People Survey, to compare weekly activity of those who used their bike as transport against those who didn’t.

It found those who commute by bike are four times more likely to meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week than those who don’t cycle, and are six times fitter than commuters who take the bus, train or car. Stewart says this provides strong evidence for investing in cycling as transport.

Make your commute more like the Tour de France (alternative version)

“I am surprised by the size of the effect rather than the effect itself,” he said.

“People are often put off by the thought of being active for 150 mins a week but if this is made part of getting around, it almost becomes hard not to meet guidelines. Cycling 15 mins to and from work 5 days a week would mean 150 mins a week without even trying."

“Given that the effect size rises in central London - where there have been investments in cycle infrastructure - promoting cycling as a means of transport has enormous potential for public health decision makers as a way of getting people fitter in the UK”.

Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner at London Cycling Campaign, told Brunel: “We already know from the Department of Transport that spending on cycling infrastructure offers much better value for money than most transport infrastructure projects. This study also confirms that ‘utility’ cycling, as a simple transport option even for short journeys, can help people rapidly reach their recommended physical activity levels. The key to getting more people to cycle such journeys is, though, safe space for cycling”.

The Active People Survey is a large telephone survey of sport and “active recreation” in England carried out by Sport England.

21 comments

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ironmancole [344 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

We needed a study to learn this why?!

Preaching to the converted, just the rest of the world that needs to catch up.

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Rapha Nadal [526 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Regular commuters fitter than most.  I'd never have guessed.

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Duncann [1018 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
ironmancole wrote:

We needed a study to learn this why?!

Preaching to the converted, just the rest of the world that needs to catch up.

You've heard of Coca-Cola - but they keep on advertising...

It's important to keep pressing home the message and keep it to front of mind (save people having to think about it for themselves...). 

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bendertherobot [1429 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

I initially read this as London cyclist commuters 6 times fitter than other cyclist commuters.

 

And was about to explode......................  4

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. . [175 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

What does "six times fitter" mean anyway?    I can't think of any measure where I'm even twice as fit as I was before I started cycling.

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stem [40 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

VO2 max max 6 times higher? Resting heartrate 6 times lower? I wish!

Anyone have access to the thesis to get the details?

 

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flathunt [244 posts] 1 year ago
7 likes

I think it's 'fitter' as in more shaggable. Excuse the medical mumbo jumbo.

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1961BikiE [335 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Bugger, I'm not typing all that out again. Synopsis - SHOCKING revelation.

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Edgeley [459 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

May be 6 times fitter but only half as purple.  What the hell does 6 times fitter mean?

 

 

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ironmancole [344 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Duncann wrote:
ironmancole wrote:

We needed a study to learn this why?!

Preaching to the converted, just the rest of the world that needs to catch up.

You've heard of Coca-Cola - but they keep on advertising...

It's important to keep pressing home the message and keep it to front of mind (save people having to think about it for themselves...). 

Excellent point actually, I like it! 

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QED [11 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

"6 times fitter"

That is a silly and vague claim in this article but not necessarily ridiculous. When I started road cycling 30k was challenging for me. I recently finished the 180k Etape London. 30x6=180 six times fitter.

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Simon E [3040 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
. . wrote:

What does "six times fitter" mean anyway?    I can't think of any measure where I'm even twice as fit as I was before I started cycling.

Who knows? <shrug> But it sounds impressive and gets people reading.

Although Duncann is right, unlike coca-cola advertising, I don't think facts like these actually change people's behaviour. Has the general population responded to the frequent media articles about the obesity epidemic, Diabetes etc etc and slimmed down? No.

The suggestion to "save the planet" hasn't got bugger all folks out of their cars (or even reduced the number of journeys they make). According to government figures, in the 12 months to June 2015 "motor vehicle traffic increased by 2.3% to a new high of 314.6 billion vehicle miles" [source]

Behavioural change won't come about by talking about weight loss, the environment etc etc but by two things (among others):

1. good quality infrastructure

2. make driving more expensive and/or less convenient

Considering every government's reluctance to embrace either of these plus the Tories' enthusiasm for building roads and giving the finger to public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure I wouldn't expect much to change just yet  2

However, I do know that I am considerably happier and healthier than if I drove to work each day. So I'm going to I call that a win-win scenario.  3

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mike the bike [907 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

My wife once told me I was a god amongst men.  Now I know I am merely a god amongst bus drivers.

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Steve_social [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

Cycling shouldn't be forced upon people. All we would end up with is angry aggressive cyclists. Cycling should be promoted all over the UK we should have extra roads built and maintained to help people who want to cycle.

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PixelLight [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

This appears to be the study for those wondering. http://m.jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/12/11/pubmed.f...

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nowasps [520 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Steve_social wrote:

Cycling shouldn't be forced upon people.

 

Fat chance of that. It would be hilarious to see, though.

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CXR94Di2 [1634 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Do you all remember that first time you really pushed yourself hard and completely blew up. Now imagine hundreds of people absolutely incapable of anger or anything else  1

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gavben [54 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

All clickbait. The article does not say that cyclists are 6 times fitter. In fact it does not use the word "fitter" at all, or even the word "fit" other than to discuss fitting data to statistical models.

The 6x refers to the likelihood of inner london cyclists meeting the recommended levels of exercise. 

So the study sayes that people who self-identify as taking exercise are more likely to meet the Department of Health recommended minimum levels of exercise. Big shock.

 

The clickbait headline appears to be a shameless plug from Brunel University to generate some publicity for a study that confirmed the obvious. Unfortunately, "journalism" appears to consist of regurgitating the press-release rather than even the most cursory fact-checking of the source.

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PsiMonk [35 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

It's six times more likely to reach their daily recommended exercise threshold than non-cyclists. The average over the UK is four times. And this is just utility cyclists - in other words, cyclists who also ride sportives or mountain bike or do lots of other sports are neutralised in the results.

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Beatnik69 [380 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

If it wasn't for the helmet I'd have sworn that was Yehuda Moon in the picture.

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rct [56 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:

 

Although Duncann is right, unlike coca-cola advertising, I don't think facts like these actually change people's behaviour. Has the general population responded to the frequent media articles about the obesity epidemic, Diabetes etc etc and slimmed down? No.

 

 

Maybe they should employee Coca Cola's advertising firm?