Reasons to cycle

Why cycle ?

The health benefits

Cycling is an easy and low-impact activity which can significantly improve your fitness. It can help to reduce the risk of a range of health problems, notably heart disease and cancer, the leading preventable causes of premature death.

In a country like the UK, where obesity is at epidemic levels among adults and young people, one of the main benefits of cycling is that people can do it as part of their normal daily activity – by cycling to work, to see friends or to the shops – rather than having to find additional time for exercise.

One study found that people who cycle to work experienced a 39% lower rate of all-cause mortality compared to those who did not – even after adjustment for other risk factors.

Simply getting on your bike can yield much the same health benefits as doing a specific training programme, and including cycling into your daily routine for most days of the week, can achieve weight loss.

As well as improving physical health, cycling has a positive affect on emotional health – improving levels of well-being, self-confidence and tolerance to stress while reducing tiredness, difficulties with sleep and a range of medical symptoms.


One of the barriers to taking up cycling is a perception of the physical danger posed by motor traffic. However, the real risks are minimal and, the research suggests, are outweighed by the health benefits by a factor of around twenty to one.

It may be more risky to your health to be sedentary!

Last updated: 7 December 2015

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