Following the British Journal of Sports Medicine's findings that the best way to stave off a cold is with regular exercise, Sustrans Cymru has seen the theory put into practice at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
Over 10,000 students and 1,360 staff are based at the four campuses of the University. They've been encouraged to cycle and walk to and from university over the past three years, directly resulting in a significant reduction in sickess absence results, according to the University.
“Over the past few years, UWIC staff have been encouraged to participate in a number of initiatives which promote green travel and healthy lifestyles," said Stuart Scott, chair of the Workplace Health and Well-being Promotion Group.
"Since starting initiatives like the Bike and Walk to Work weeks in 2007, we have seen a significant reduction in sickness absence rates across the university, suggesting that the implementation of such initiatives can and is having a positive impact upon both the University and the staff that work within it.”
Campus traffic congestion has been reduced through the initiatives. Since 1997 the university has encouraged healthy travel through planning, introducing local bus services to campuses, a bike purchase scheme for staff, bike breakfast events, bike safety sessions and an improvement in bike facilities on campus.
Sustrans Cymru’s Active Travel Programme Manager Georgina Harper added: "Investment in walking and cycling is cost effective and is an investment in health, the environment, the population and the economy.
"Walking and cycling can be a natural choice for local travel and a way we can exercise as part of our everyday lifestyles, and UWIC is a great example of how helping people make simple changes to their everyday journeys can have much wider positive results.”
UWIC is being used as a case study for Sustrans Cymru at the Green Exercise conference tomorrow (November 4th) at City Hall in Cardiff.