Bicycling and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
People who frequently bike to work or in their free time have a decreased risk of heart disease.
Blond, Kim et al. (2016). Prospective Study of Bicycling and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Danish Men and Women. Circulation. 134:1409-1411. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.024651
Bicycling for transportation and recreation is considered an important strategy for prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) in many populations. It is a low-impact type of physical activity that can be used for exercise purposes or incorporated in everyday living without requiring allocation of time to more structured exercise. Although the benefits of nonspecific active transportation and walking on CHD risk have been examined extensively, prospective studies evaluating the relationship between cycling habits and risk of CHD are scarce, and the relationship remains inconclusive. The aim of this prospective study was to examine the association among cycling, changes in cycling habits, and risk of incident CHD in a cohort study of Danish men and women.
Researchers tracked 53 723 Danes (25 329 men and 28 394 women) 50 to 65 years of age at recruitment in 1993 to 1997 from the prospective cohort study, “Diet, Cancer, and Health” for 20 years.
Participants who often biked to work or for recreation experienced 11 percent to 18 percent fewer heart attacks, and those who started and maintained a regimen of biking had a 26 percent lower risk of developing coronary artery disease. A minimum of 30 minutes of biking each week offers protection against the disease, the researchers said. They also noted that regular bicycling could have prevented more than 7 percent of the 2,892 heart attacks that occurred during the 20-year study time period.