In the Journals

Walking, biking to work lowers risk for fatal heart disease

People who walked or rode their bikes to work lowered their risk for ischemic heart disease by 11% and risk for dying of this disease by 30%, according to findings recently published in Heart.

“Much research is focused on the benefits of active commuting but the potential health gains associated with non-commuting travel are less well known,” Jenna Panter, PhD, senior research associate at the United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration and colleagues wrote.

Researchers conducted a prospective study among 358,799 participants in a United Kingdom database who were between ages 37 and 73 years from 2006 to 2010. Participants’ primary mode of transportation and commuting schedules were determined, and events tied to CVD, cancer and other types of disease or death in the first 2 years the participant entered the study were not included.

Panter and colleagues found that walking or cycling to work was associated with a lower risk for incident CVD (HR = 0.89; 95%CI, 0.79-1) and fatal CVD (HR = 0.7; 95%CI, 0.51-0.95). Regular commuters who walked or rode their bikes when not travelling to work had an even lower risk for fatal CVD (HR = 0.57; 95%CI, 0.39-0.85). In addition, people who were not regular commuters, but walked and rode their bikes more for travel, had lower risk for all-cause mortality (HR = 0.92; 95%,CI 0.86-0.99).

Researchers also found that the observed links to cancer were protective, but small and insignificant.

“Taken together and in the light of existing evidence, our findings provide further support for a hypothesis that more active patterns of travel for both commuting and noncommuting purposes may be associated with significant reductions in CVD and all-cause mortality. This is an important message for clinicians advising people about how to be physically active and reduce their risk of disease,” Panter and colleagues wrote.

“We also found no evidence that these associations were moderated by car access, which could be explained by the heterogenous nature of the group who did not rely on car use, but it may also suggest that the benefits are available to all, irrespective of car access or distance to work,” they added.

Bike Riding
People who walked or rode their bikes to work lowered their risk for ischemic heart disease by 11% and risk for dying of this disease by 30%, according to findings recently published in Heart.
Photo Source: Adobe

In a related editorial, April F. Mohanty, PhD, of the Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences Center at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Health Care System pointed out what she called “important limitations” on Panter et al’s findings.

“The outcomes associated with active travel (vs. exclusive reliance on a vehicle) were inconsistent for regular commuters vs. those who did not regularly commute. The risk was lower for CVD outcomes among regular commuters who engaged in active travel (both for commute and noncommute purposes) whereas the association with all-cause mortality was not statistically significant.”

“On the other hand, among those who were not regular commuters, active travel (for noncommute purposes) was associated with all-cause mortality whereas the association with CVD outcomes was not statistically significant,” she continued.

Despite these limitations, Mohanty added the findings are “the best evidence to date” that walking and riding a bicycle for nonwork travel is linked to better health outcomes in most people and “provides further evidence to support efforts, including policies and guideline recommendations, that encourage active travel even if that is only possible for part of the journey.” – by Janel Miller

References:

Mohanty AF. Heart. 2018;doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313212.

Panter J, et al. Heart. 2018;doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312699.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

People who walked or rode their bikes to work lowered their risk for ischemic heart disease by 11% and risk for dying of this disease by 30%, according to findings recently published in Heart.

“Much research is focused on the benefits of active commuting but the potential health gains associated with non-commuting travel are less well known,” Jenna Panter, PhD, senior research associate at the United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration and colleagues wrote.

Researchers conducted a prospective study among 358,799 participants in a United Kingdom database who were between ages 37 and 73 years from 2006 to 2010. Participants’ primary mode of transportation and commuting schedules were determined, and events tied to CVD, cancer and other types of disease or death in the first 2 years the participant entered the study were not included.

Panter and colleagues found that walking or cycling to work was associated with a lower risk for incident CVD (HR = 0.89; 95%CI, 0.79-1) and fatal CVD (HR = 0.7; 95%CI, 0.51-0.95). Regular commuters who walked or rode their bikes when not travelling to work had an even lower risk for fatal CVD (HR = 0.57; 95%CI, 0.39-0.85). In addition, people who were not regular commuters, but walked and rode their bikes more for travel, had lower risk for all-cause mortality (HR = 0.92; 95%,CI 0.86-0.99).

Researchers also found that the observed links to cancer were protective, but small and insignificant.

“Taken together and in the light of existing evidence, our findings provide further support for a hypothesis that more active patterns of travel for both commuting and noncommuting purposes may be associated with significant reductions in CVD and all-cause mortality. This is an important message for clinicians advising people about how to be physically active and reduce their risk of disease,” Panter and colleagues wrote.

“We also found no evidence that these associations were moderated by car access, which could be explained by the heterogenous nature of the group who did not rely on car use, but it may also suggest that the benefits are available to all, irrespective of car access or distance to work,” they added.

Bike Riding
People who walked or rode their bikes to work lowered their risk for ischemic heart disease by 11% and risk for dying of this disease by 30%, according to findings recently published in Heart.
Photo Source: Adobe

In a related editorial, April F. Mohanty, PhD, of the Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences Center at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Health Care System pointed out what she called “important limitations” on Panter et al’s findings.

“The outcomes associated with active travel (vs. exclusive reliance on a vehicle) were inconsistent for regular commuters vs. those who did not regularly commute. The risk was lower for CVD outcomes among regular commuters who engaged in active travel (both for commute and noncommute purposes) whereas the association with all-cause mortality was not statistically significant.”

“On the other hand, among those who were not regular commuters, active travel (for noncommute purposes) was associated with all-cause mortality whereas the association with CVD outcomes was not statistically significant,” she continued.

Despite these limitations, Mohanty added the findings are “the best evidence to date” that walking and riding a bicycle for nonwork travel is linked to better health outcomes in most people and “provides further evidence to support efforts, including policies and guideline recommendations, that encourage active travel even if that is only possible for part of the journey.” – by Janel Miller

References:

Mohanty AF. Heart. 2018;doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313212.

Panter J, et al. Heart. 2018;doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312699.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.