HealthDay News — Biking to work may help lengthen lifespan, according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Jason Gill, PhD, of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences in the United Kingdom, and colleagues looked at the commuting habits of 263,450 people in the United Kingdom and tracked their health over 5 years.

The researchers found that cycling to work was associated with a 46% lower risk of cardiovascular disease over 5 years and a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to a sedentary commute. Risk of premature death was 41% lower. Walking to work was also beneficial; it was associated with a 27% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. However, it wasn’t linked with a lower risk of cancer or premature death.

“Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions,” the authors write.

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  1. Celis-Morales CA, Lyall D, Welsh P, et al. Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study [published online April 19, 2017]. BMJ. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1456
  2. Anderson LB. Active commuting is beneficial for health [published online April 19, 2017]. BMJ. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1740