Cycling versus walking: Both are good but riding’s better

If you’re cyclist, you probably saw this good news story in your social media newsfeed , shared with delight by cyclists everywhere: New study suggests health benefits of cycling to work are staggering.

“We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all. Walking to work was not associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes. Walkers did, however, have a 27% lower risk of heart disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from it.”

I was happy that it answered the question about the health benefits of cycling versus walking. Often studies proclaim health benefits for cycling but don’t compare them to the health benefits of other modes of self-propulsion. Lots of runners, for example, were frustrated by the story which profiled 80 year old cyclists with the health of 20-somethings but didn’t say anything about the anti-aging effects of running and walking.

But what about stress? You have to enjoy it, surely, or at least not be terrified by it. My fave thing about cycling home–when the ride is long enough, right now I’m too close to campus–is how relaxed and happy I feel when I get there. I’ve always associated that with the  health benefits of cycling. But if I was a fearful cyclist, maybe I’d still choose to walk.

I mean, right now I’ve got the world’s shortest bike commute, just 1.5 km. But I can ride without the knee brace so it’s any easy choice.

How about you? Biking or walking? Why?

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