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“Safer on the Bicycle than on the Sofa”

8 August 2013
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Biker

There are many benefits to biking instead of driving. One of them is your health.

“You won’t believe it…You’re safer on the bicycle than on the sofa!” This is a quote from an advertisement developed by the Copenhagen Public Health Department. The ad continues:  “Lack of daily exercise is harmful to your health, while physical activity keeps your body healthy. Cycling extends your life – daily exercise for a minimum 30 minutes extends your lifespan by up to five years.”

How cool is that!? This is a campaign from Copenhagen, but it still relates to Minnesotans. In recent years, as we have seen an increase in obesity and heart disease (heart disease was the #1 cause of death in the U.S. in 2011) and a decrease in bike accidents (from 2000 to 2009 bike accidents in MN decreased 20%), the health benefits of biking have become increasingly significant. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 2 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity.

Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. –WHO

The risks associated with obesity and heart disease significantly outweigh the dangers associated with biking. Biking just 30 minutes a day leads to more longevity, something you won’t get riding in your car. This is summarized nicely in a quote from a journal article from 2010, “For the people who shift from car to bicycle, we estimated that the well-documented beneficial effect of increased physical activity due to cycling resulted in about 9 times more gains in life-years than the losses in life-years due to increased inhaled air pollution doses and traffic accidents.”

On a more personal note, as someone who started biking to work just this year- try it! Since I started commuting to work at least 3 days a week I have more energy, am less stressed, and save a lot of money on gas.

In summary, get out of your car and onto your bike! It will greatly improve your health and happiness!

 

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