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Walking or cycling to work linked with lower risk of heart attack

Researchers from the University of Leeds have highlighted a lower rate of cardiac arrests in areas where more people cycle or walk to work

Two men

UK researchers have investigated the relationship between walking or cycling to work and the risk of heart attack.

Writing in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, scientists from the University of Leeds highlighted that areas where more people engaged in active transport had a lower rate of cardiac arrests.

The study found that in areas where walking or cycling to work was more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks for both men and women decreased over the following two years.

The researchers noted that the main risks for heart disease are a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and diabetes.

However, after accounting for these factors, active commuting was associated with additional benefits in some cases.

Women who walked to work and men who cycled to work had a 1.7% reduction in heart attacks the following year.

The study analysed UK Census data from 43 million people in England.

Scientists found that 11.4% of those included were active commuters, with walking (8.6%) more popular than cycling (2.8%).

Pictured are co-authors of the research Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Olympic-medal winning triathletes and alumni of the University of Leeds

Image credit: University of Leeds