Biking May Increase Life Expectancy, Study Finds

istock / istock

We already know that bike riders are among the happiest commuters, but a recent study of Dutch bicyclists found that they may also live longer. According to a study conducted by the University of Utrecht, cyclists in the Netherlands live, on average, six months longer than non-cyclists, People For Bikes reports.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, collected data from 50,000 Dutch residents and found that every additional hour of biking correlated to approximately one hour added to a person’s life expectancy.

“For Dutch people, that equates to living for about six months longer for every 75 minutes of cycling each week,” researcher Carlijn Kamphuis explains. “Additionally, it appears that about 6.5 thousand premature deaths are saved each year through cycling.”

It’s important to note that bicycling is already an incredibly popular mode of transportation in the Netherlands, and that there’s infrastructure in place that makes bike commuting safer and easier than in many other countries. The Dutch researchers hope that their study not only convinces people to hop on their bikes a little more often, but inspires policy-makers around the world to take action, and make the promotion of bicycling a higher priority.

"This is important information to convince policy makers about the significance of promoting cycling measures," Kamphuis explains. "The figures speak for themselves. An investment in better cycle paths, for example, is easily recovered through the enormous health benefits and potential financial savings. There are also other benefits from cycling including improved air quality, reduced traffic and as people move more, less burden due to illness."

[h/t People For Bikes]