"This is really clear evidence that people who commute in an active way, particularly by cycling, were at lower risk," says Jason Gill, a physician-researcher at the University of Glasgow and corresponding author of the study.
|New Yorkers bicycling to work|
Walking to work had a similar but smaller protective effect, probably because people who used bicycles for their commute exercised longer and more intensely than walkers.
The powerful protective effect of active rather than passive commuting held up even when the researchers controlled for known risk factors such as smoking, weight and diet.
One benefit of bicycling to work, the researchers point out, is that unlike going to the gym or planned workouts, commuting becomes a no-willpower-needed habit. "You need to get to work every day, so if you build cycling into the day it essentially takes willpower out of the equation," says Gill.