Study: Biking may be healthiest way to commute

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It turns out biking may be the healthiest way to commute to work. Sure, it doesn't sound all that surprising. But a new study published in the British Medical Journal Thursday shows just how beneficial biking could be for your health and how it can add years to your life.

The cardiovascular benefits are clear.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow found that biking to work can cut your risk of cancer or heart disease almost in half.

That's not surprising, according to the acting director of Bike East Bay, an organization that aims to make cycling fun, safe and accessible. "We know that biking in traffic is frequently people's number one concerns. That's why we're advocating for new bike lanes and upgrading out streets," Ginger Jui said.

The study was conducted over five years, involving more than 260,000 British commuters.

Bicyclists were 41 percent less likely to die from any cause, compared to those people who didn't exert active effort during their daily commute.

Those who took public transit to work were more likely to suffer heart attacks or be diagnosed with cancer during the study. Researchers say it's a good reminder that the "dead time" typically taken up by a work commute can actually be used to benefit your health.

Group fitness instructor Gabby De Nigris bikes to work and can't imagine commuting any other way. "Committing yourself to riding your bike to and from work is a built-in guarantee that you're going to get that small amount of exercise in your day, no matter what," she said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, nearly 15,000 workers in San Francisco bike to work on a daily basis. Bicycle advocates expect those numbers to go up in the coming years as more cities install bike lanes and widen roads to help improve commuter safety.

"By the time you get to work, you're alive, you're vibrant and you're ready to rock and roll," De Nigris said.

It's a chance to break a sweat to live a longer, healthier life.

Bay Area Bike to Work Day will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Click here to read the full British Medical Journal study.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.