Wednesday February 19, 2020

Walking, Cycling Linked with Fewer Heart Attacks: Researchers

For women who walked to work there was an associated 1.7 per cent reduction in heart attacks the following year. For men who cycled to work there was also an associated 1.7 per cent reduction in heart attacks the following year, the study said

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CyclingStress, meditation, PTSD
Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health. Pixabay

Walking and cycling to work is associated with fewer heart attacks in adults, say, researchers, adding that could provide important health benefits.

According to the study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, in areas where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks in UK decreased for both men and women across the following two years.

“Our study at the University of Leeds shows that exercise as a means of commuting to work is associated with lower levels of heart attack. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and we support initiatives to help everyone become and stay active,” said study co-author and Olympic-medal winning triathlete Alistair Brownlee.

The study looked at the 2011 UK Census data, which included 43 million people aged 25-74 years employed in England, and found that 11.4 per cent were active commuters. Walking was more popular than cycling (8.6 per cent vs. 2.8 per cent).

Active commuting was defined as people who reported their main mode of transport to work as either ‘bicycle’ or ‘on foot’ in the UK Census.

Rates of active travel varied significantly between local authorities across England, with as few as five per cent of people walking or cycling to work in some authorities, compared to as many as 41.6 per cent in other areas.

Walk, Jogging, Economic
Adding an extra 15 minutes of daily walking, or jogging a steady one kilometer each day, would improve productivity and extend life expectancy – leading to more economic growth. Pixabay

There was also a sex difference for active travel in the 2011 Census data, with more men cycling to work than women (3.8 per cent vs. 1.7 per cent), but more women walking to work than men (11.7 per cent vs. 6.0 per cent).

The researchers acknowledged that the big risk factors for heart disease are a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and diabetes.

After adjusting for these, the researchers found that active commuting was linked with additional health benefits in some cases.

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For women who walked to work there was an associated 1.7 per cent reduction in heart attacks the following year. For men who cycled to work there was also an associated 1.7 per cent reduction in heart attacks the following year, the study said.

“Whilst we cannot conclusively say that active travel to work lowers the risk of heart attack, the study is indicative of such a relationship,” said study lead author Chris Gale, Professor at the University of Leeds.

“The effect of active commuting is fairly modest when compared with the stronger determinants of cardiovascular health such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and regular exercise. However, this study clearly suggests that exercising on the way to work has the potential to bring nationwide improvements to health and wellbeing,” Gale said. (IANS)

Next Story

Walking 10,000 Steps a Day May Not help You Shred Weight, Reveals Study

For the findings, published in the Journal of Obesity, the research team studied 120 freshmen in the US over their first six months of college as they participated in a step-counting experiment

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The biggest benefit of step recommendations is getting people out of a sedentary lifestyle. Even though it won't prevent weight gain on its own, more steps is always better for you. Pixabay

Contrary to the common belief that walking 10,000 steps a day prevents weight gain, the researchers have found that it doesn’t actually prevents weight gain rather it may decrease your sedentary time.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Obesity, the research team studied 120 freshmen in the US over their first six months of college as they participated in a step-counting experiment.

“Exercise alone is not always the most effective way to lose weight, if you track steps, it might have a benefit in increasing physical activity, but our study showed it won’t translate into maintaining weight or preventing weight gain,” said study lead author Bruce Bailey from Brigham Young University in the US.

Participants walked either 10,000, 12,500 or 15,000 steps a day, six days a week for 24 weeks, while researchers tracked their caloric intake and weight. The goal of the study was to evaluate if progressively exceeding the recommended step count of 10,000 steps per day would minimize weight and fat gain in college freshmen students.

In the end, it didn’t matter if the students walked more than even 15,000 steps; they still gained weight. Students in the study gained on average about 1.5 kg (roughly 3.5 lbs.) over the study period; a one to four kg average weight gain is commonly observed during the first academic year of college, according to previous studies.

Walk, Path, Walking, Feet, Trail, Shoes, Sport, Legs
Contrary to the common belief that walking 10,000 steps a day prevents weight gain, the researchers have found that it doesn’t actually prevents weight gain rather it may decrease your sedentary time. Pixabay

Although weight was not affected by the increased steps, there was a positive impact on physical activity patterns, which “may have other emotional and health benefits,” the researchers said. One positive outcome of the study was that sedentary time was drastically reduced in both the 12,500- and 15,000-step groups.

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According to the researchers, in the 15,000-step group, sedentary time decreased by as much as 77 minutes a day. “The biggest benefit of step recommendations is getting people out of a sedentary lifestyle. Even though it won’t prevent weight gain on its own, more steps is always better for you,” Bailey added. (IANS)