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Get on your bike to avoid heart attack

Get on your bike to avoid heart attack

When someone tells you to get on your bike their sentiment isn’t necessarily a nice one, but when Danish scientist Dr Anders Grontved says it, it could save your life.

Dr Grontved and his team from the University of Southern Denmark have found that people who spend 90 minutes cycling a week are 24 per cent less likely to develop angina or have a heart attack.

For the study the team looked at 45,000 people aged between 50 and 65, tracking them for 20 years. It was found for some people just 30 minutes of cycling a week had a huge impact on their health, lowering their chance of developing coronary heart disease by 16 per cent.

“Finding time for exercise can be challenging for many people, so clinicians working in the field of cardiovascular risk prevention should consider promoting cycling as a mode of transportation,” Dr Grontved explained.

The findings have been published in the Circulation medical journal. Over the course of the 20 year study, which ran from 1993 to 2003, the experts recorded a total of 2,892 heart attacks, but say that more than 7 per cent could have been avoided by cycling on a regular basis.

Also during the study period it was highlighted how taking up cycling later in life can still improve health, though people should do it sooner rather than later; those who started the exercise in the first five years were shown to have 24 per cent lower risk of developing heart disease, compared with those who took up the activity later on or not at all.

“Because recreational and commuter biking is an easy way to make physical activity part of one's routine in a non-structured and informal fashion; based on the results, public health authorities, governments, and employers ought to consider initiatives that promote bicycle riding as a way to support large-scale cardiovascular disease prevention efforts," added co-author Dr Kim Blond.

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