Cycling to work doesn't just add zest to your life it also adds years to your life, find academics time and time again.

Analysis of commute modes of more than a quarter of a million British workers found that cycle commuters had 41 percent lower chance of dying over the five-year study period than people who drive to work.

Many previous studies from around the world have reported similar findings but this study – published in the British Medical Journal last year – was important because of its size. The records of 263,450 people were used for the study, all taken from the UK Biobank, a population-based health resource. 

The records were selected from 22 sites around the UK by researchers at Glasgow University who looked for cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality.

Cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of all three. Walking to work was also found to be beneficial to health, but not as beneficial as cycling.

"Initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions," said the study authors.

The study's finding suggest that "policies designed to affect a population level modal shift to more active modes of commuting, particularly cycle commuting (eg, cycle lanes, city bike hire, subsidised cycle purchase schemes, and increasing provision for cycles on public transport), present major opportunities for the improvement of public health."

With this study being just one of many to say the same thing, when will the penny drop?

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Spotter: Peter Flax

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