Cycling to work has huge health benefits, says Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger reveal findings of new research on the health benefits of climate and air pollution policies for cities and regions, including more cycling.
By Carlton Reid,

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Arnold Schwarzenegger today revealed findings of new research on the health benefits of commuter cycling. The actor and former Governor of California arrived for a press conference on a Velib bike-share bicycle. Professional cyclist Peter Sagan sent a video message played at the press conference held on the eve of the One Planet Summit to be held on Tuesday and organised by the climate-change awareness C40 cities group. This is a network of the world’s megacities committed to tackling climate change.

The research unveiled focuses on the benefits for individuals and cities of acting to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution. Cycling was lauded as a major component for making cities cleaner and healthier.

Delegates were told that switching from driving to cycling 30 minutes per day for five days a week can deliver the following health benefits:

  • 23 percent reduced risk of heart disease
  • 23 percent reduced risk of stroke
  • 15 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • 14 percent reduced risk of depression
  • 12 percent reduced risk of breast cancer
  • 11 percent reduced risk of dementia
  • 8 percent reduced risk of colon cancer

An active commute also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and therefore prevents climate change, said a report issued at the summit based on research conducted by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with support from Johnson & Johnson on the wider benefits of climate action on air quality and health, and Novo Nordisk in connecting active mobility to climate and health.

"This research reveals that the policies we are implementing to clean the air we breathe and restrict the polluting diesel and petrol vehicles will add three weeks onto the life of every citizen, whilst also preventing climate change,” said Hidalgo, who is the C40 Chair.

“If the policies are escalated to cities and regions around the world, the health benefits will affect tens of thousands of people. Now we see just how dangerous those forces who want to prevent the shift to clean and healthy streets really are. Nothing will hold us back.”

@Anne_Hidalgo reçoit @Schwarzenegger qui arrive en @Velibpic.twitter.com/KMXYru0naX

— Smoove_Off (@Smoove_Off) December 11, 2017

Schwarzenegger, founder of the R20 – Regions of Climate Action organisation, said: “Governors and Mayors have a duty to protect the health and safety of their citizens, and air pollution is one of the greatest threats to mankind, with over 7 million people dying worldwide every year. Together, through the R20 and C40, we will inspire leaders around the globe to focus on the immediate dangers and health impacts of fossil fuels.”