Health benefits

Walking and cycling is good for you…here’s why.

Be a winnerPrint

  • A healthy diet and physical activity are the key to a healthy weight, but that doesn't have to mean going on a strict diet and spending hours at the gym.
    A brisk walk or moderate cycle to work is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and reap a multitude of health, environmental and financial benefits.
  • You can reduce the risk of developing major chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers by up to 50 per cent and cut your risk of premature death by about 20-30 per cent by being physically active. Physical activity can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.
  • It is estimated that over 14 per cent of children age 11 are overweight and over 23 per cent are obese, while one in five journeys in the borough each morning and afternoon involves a trip to and from school. Countries with the highest levels of cycling and walking generally have the lowest obesity rates. People who cycle on average live two years longer than people who don’t and take 15 per cent fewer days off work through illness.


Make the switchPrint

  • It is expected that by 2013 there will be a six per cent reduction in the time spent in cars as people choose to make their journey by cycling, train, tube or bus. The additional cycling is expected to generate between 4,000 and 6,000 extra years of healthy life for Londoners and save nearly £250million on health treatments annually.
  • The health benefits of active travel outweigh the risks from hazards such as poor air quality and road traffic collisions by 62:1. For example: the increase in walking and cycling would deliver an estimated 60,000 years of health benefits from physical activity, 2,000 years of health benefits from reduced exposure to poor air quality and less than 1,000 year of harm from road traffic collisions.
  • By swopping the car for walking, cycling or using the train, tube or bus we can reduce road deaths by 30 per cent and enjoy the advantages of cleaner air, less noise, more connected neighbourhoods, less stress and fear, and fewer road traffic injuries.


Take a deep breathPrint

  • Studies on air quality on London greenways (safe, quiet routes through parks, green spaces and streets with less traffic) was found to be significantly better than on adjacent busy roads.
  • An experiment conducted by Camden Council proved that air pollution levels are highest in a car, followed by buses, with cycling and walking exposing people to the lowest levels of air pollution. Shifting just ten per cent of journeys from car to bike would reduce air pollution and save 400 productive life years.


Money in the bank

  • People who walk or cycle to work have reduced absenteeism and increasedproductivity, with active employees taking 15 per cent fewer sick days. Regular bike users take one less sick day than people who don’t cycle, saving the economy £128million a year in reduced absenteeism.
  • A 20 per cent increase in cycling levels by 2015 can save £107million through the reduction of premature deaths. You can enjoy the benefit of reduced travel costs by walking or cycling. Around 92 per cent of British households are 15 minutes or less (on foot or by public transport) from a local shop and 43.2 households in London do not have access to a car.


Burn it up

  • Moderate Cycling - When you cycle 12 to 13.9 mph, you burn about 53 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 43 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 36 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.
  • Light Cycling - When you cycle 10 to 11.9 mph, you burn about 47 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, about 38 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and about 32 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.