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Safe Cycling IOM

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The problem: a lack of physical activity


  • An inactive lifestyle doubles the risk of coronary heart disease, and increases diabetes by 30 to 50%. There is also a higher incidence of cancer (especially colon and breast cancer), obesity, stroke and mental health conditions, such as depression.


  • 70% of women and 60% of men fail to reach even the recommended minimum level of physical activity (30 mins of moderate intensity exercise 5 times per week.)


  • The average time spent walking or cycling has declined from 16.8 minutes per day in 1972-3 to 11.8 minutes per day in 2005. Over the same period, the time spent travelling by car has increased from 25.4 minutes to 38.6 minutes. (Davis et al, 2007)


  • By 2050, if current trends are maintained, 60% of men and 50% of women could be obese with less than 10% having a healthy body weight. (Butland et al, 2007)

Benefits of cycling on health


  • Cycling is a low impact activity and one of the safest ways to exercise without risk of overexertion or strain to muscles and joints. An 80kg individual will burn in excess of 650 calories/hr cycling.


  • Anxiety, stress and depression are all allieviated, partly due to the physical activity itself, but also due to the pleasure and satisfaction of riding a bicycle


  • Encouraging active transport for adults and children improves physical activity levels and reduces sedentary time