Biking to work could keep you alive longer, study says

If you cycle to work, you also might be increasing your chances of more cycles around the Earth.

A new University of Glasgow study published Thursday in the BMJ found that biking to work was linked to a significantly decreased chance of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease and all other causes. It also found that such activity was associated with a 45 percent decreased chance of getting cancer compared to those who didn't actively commute (i.e. using a car or public transportation), in addition to a 46 percent decreased heart disease risk. Walking to work was only linked to a lower cardiovascular disease risk.

Researchers assessed data on more than 264,000 people for the U.K. study, which asked them to note their usual mode of transportation to and from work. They could choose walking, cycling or the aforementioned non-active commute. Researchers then followed up through five years on average and kept a record of hospital admissions and deaths.

"Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes," Jason Gill, one of the study authors, said in a statement. "Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40 percent lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the 5 years of follow-up."

But why did cycling result in better benefits than just walking? It may have to do with distance.

RELATED: 35 photos that will make you grateful for your commute

35 photos that will make you grateful for your commute
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35 photos that will make you grateful for your commute

The security checks during rush hour in Beijing make for insanely long lines. The checks have been tightened due to an attack in China's Xinjiang region, where dozens were killed in May 2014.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jason Lee)

It doesn't get much easier once you're actually on the train.

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Getting home from work in Beijing is a bit of a zoo, too.

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Being a pedestrian in Tokyo means having a lot of company.

(Photo via REUTERS/Toru Hanai)

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo is one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. Traffic lights go red all at once, so up to 2,500 people try to cross at the same time.

(Photo by Tom Bonaventure via Getty Images)

In Jakarta, Indonesia, the front of the train is fair game, too.

(Photo via REUTERS/Beawiharta)

Even when heavy rains flood the Indian city of Guwahati, people still have to schlep to work.

(Photo via REUTERS/Utpal Baruah)

It's hard to imagine being stuck in this Mumbai commuter train.

(Photo via REUTERS/Arko Datta)

Getting on the train in Colombo, Sri Lanka's largest city, requires some patience.

(Photo via REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

Heavy rain didn't deter these men in Karachi, Pakistan, from riding on the outside of a bus.

(Photo via REUTERS/Athar Hussain)

But it pales in comparison to what trains look like in Indonesia's West Java province, where just 300 cars serve 500,000 commuters each day.

(Photo via REUTERS/Crack Palinggi)

Commuters were stranded after a 2009 typhoon washed out a chunk of a Philippines highway north of Manila.

(Photo via REUTERS/Stringer)

There are more than 37 million motorbikes in Vietnam, so rush hour in Ho Chi Minh City is a blur.

(Photo by Steve Casimiro via Getty Images)

At 21 million people, Lagos has become Africa's largest city. It was only 1.4 million in 1970, so as you might imagine, traffic is rough.

(Photo via REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

The congestion in Cairo, Egypt, gets so deadlocked that you can't tell where the traffic ends and the market begins.

(Photo via REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

A May 2014 bus driver strike in Sao Paulo, Brazil, made the morning commute even more congested than usual — here are the human-laden escalators in one subway station.

(Photo via REUTERS/Chico Ferreira)

Sao Paulo is home to some of the world's biggest traffic jams, and its subway stations are a bit overcrowded.

(Photo via REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

At peak times, New York City's Grand Central Terminal gets pretty crazy.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

The morning commute in Chicago can grow seriously frigid in the heart of winter, as shown in this January photo.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On April Fools Day in 2014, the trip to work for Google employees was interrupted by protestors who claimed that an influx of tech workers were driving up San Francisco housing prices.

(Photo via REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

Los Angeles motorists suffer from the worst traffic in the US, logging an average 90 hours a year behind the wheel.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Mexico City has 20 million people and about four million cars — enough to make six-hour commutes common.

(Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images)

A winter snowstorm brought afternoon traffic to a standstill in Calgary.

(Photo via REUTERS/Todd Korol)

Before an airport was built in the Chilean archipelago of Chiloé, people commuting to the mainland of Chile would need to take a four-hour drive plus a ferry.

(Photo by Walter Bibikow via Getty Images)

Subway commuters will often flood the platforms of Moscow, like the one pictured here.

(Photo via REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

In Brussels, a city that has some of the worst congestion in the world, drivers spend about 94 hours a year in traffic jams. Brussels has a spider web of highways that is impossible to evade, even for drivers just passing through the city.

(Photo via REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people travel from Shenzhen, China to Hong Kong. The commute can involve hours of wasted time dealing with crowds, customs officials, and traffic.

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Many Londoners trek across the London Bridge as part of their commute, especially if they work in the financial sector headquartered in the city.

(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

In the Netherlands, about 25% of all commutes are made by bicycle. This means that bike parking in Amsterdam gets pretty creative.

(Photo by Pilar Flores via Getty Images)


"This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists – typically 6 miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week – and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling," study author Carlos A Celis-Morales said in a statement.

As for what this means going forward, Lars Bo Andersen, a professor at the Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences, didn't mince words in an editorial published with the study.

"The findings from this study are a clear call for political action on active commuting, which has the potential to improve public health by preventing common (and costly) non-communicable diseases," Andersen wrote. "A shift from car to more active modes of travel will also decrease traffic in congested city centres and help reduce air pollution, with further benefits for health."

CNBC, citing information from the World Health Organization, says 30 to 50 percent of cancers might be preventable through practices such as consistent exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

RELATED: Insane commutes around the world

Insane commutes all over the world
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Insane commutes all over the world
Boats cross the river Buriganga with passengers during dusk at Sadarghat in Dhaka August 15, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY MARITIME)
A security officer stands guard as passengers line up and wait for a security check during morning rush hour at Tiantongyuan North Station in Beijing May 27, 2014. Beijing tightened security checks at subway stations since last Saturday, following an attack in China's troubled Xinjiang region which killed 31 people on May 22, the deadliest act of violence in the region in years. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TRANSPORT)
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 16: Chinese commuters crowd onto a subway car on the metro during rush hour on October 16, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: A Chinese boy holds an umbrellas as he sits on the back of his mother's bike as they wait at a traffic light in the rain on September 2, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
People crossing Shibuya crossing at night.
People commute on board a boat at a canal in Bangkok, Thailand, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Passengers sit on the rooftop of a commuter train as it arrives at the Manggarai train station in Jakarta October 26, 2011. PT KAI spokesperson Mateta Rizalulhaq said the state railway operator had cancelled more than 29 scheduled train services, from October 19 to November 29, to accommodate an upgrade of three electrical substations along the line. REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA - Tags: SOCIETY TRANSPORT BUSINESS)
Rickshaw pullers wade through a flooded road after heavy rains at Guwahati in the northeastern Indian state of Assam June 27, 2014. Seven people have been killed in flash floods, landslides and heavy rainfall in the four districts of Assam, local media reported on Friday. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah (INDIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Commuters travel in a suburban train in Mumbai February 24, 2010. India's Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee is presenting the annual budget for the railways in parliament on Wednesday. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT POLITICS BUSINESS)
Commuters hang off a local passenger train in the morning in Colombo, Sri Lanka September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
People travel on a bus during rainfall in Karachi August 9, 2007. Pakistan is receiving a fresh spell of monsoon rains which will continue during the week, a Pakistan Meteorological Department handout stated on Thursday. REUTERS/Athar Hussain (PAKISTAN)
People hang onto an entrance of a commuter train which will transport them to Jakarta, in Depok, Indonesia's West Java province May 31, 2010. According to PT Kereta Api Indonesia, their trains operate 300 cars each day to serve about 500,000 commuters in Jakarta. In 2007 as many as 26 people were killed due to electricity shock and from falling off the roofs of trains. REUTERS/Crack Palinggi (INDONESIA - Tags: SOCIETY TRANSPORT IMAGES OF THE DAY BUSINESS)
HANOI, VIETNAM - NOVEMBER 04: Motorbike drivers covered-up with face masks try to get through the morning peak hour traffic at Nga Tu So intersection on November 4, 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Hanoi is ranked as one of the most polluted city in Southeast Asia with the air quality monitor installed by U.S. Embassy in the city center often shows Air Quality Index (AQI) of over 200 at day time, listed as â 'Very Unhealthy'. The main cause of this air pollution is over 5.3 million motorbikes and 560,000 cars in the traffic of Hanoi while figures continue to increase every year, according to reports. Vietnam's motorbike culture has taken over the bicycle in the capital, known to be one of the world's fastest expanding economy which resulted in the masks and gloves being a common sight in the tropical city, both to reduce inhalation of motorbike fumes and Vietnamese women to protect themselves from the sun. (Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images)
A man walks on a pedestrian bridge overlooking traffic in Lagos, Nigeria, September 18, 2006. The Africities 4 summit aimed at tackling the problems of the continent's expanding cities and huge slums opened on Monday in Nairobi. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA)
People travel in cable cars in La Paz, July 23, 2015. Bolivia already has the largest urban cable car system in the world. Now the booming country is tripling the size of the network and will soon have nine lines whizzing above the administrative capital of La Paz. Picture taken July 23. REUTERS/David Mercado
Motorists drive over the Bosphorus suspension bridge linking the city's Asian and European sides in Istanbul October 6, 2004. [Turkey won a provisional green light from the European Commission on Wednesday to open membership negotiations with the European Union, a watershed decision after 40 years of on-again, off-again talks.]
Subway commuters walk through an underground passage to transfer the lines between yellow and green at Consolacao station in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 10, 2011. The yellow line, which was inaugurated in 2010 and is partially operated, carries approximately 425 thousand passengers per day, while its construction is expected to be finished in 2014. AFP PHOTO/YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Stranded commuters fill Grand Central Terminal after commuter rail service in and out of the terminal was suspended during the evening rush hour on Tuesday due to a fire under a section of elevated tracks, in New York, United States, May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 07: Passengers heading into downtown wait on an 'L' platform for the train to arrive in below zero temperatures on January 7, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Platforms were crowded and trains were delayed because doors on the trains kept freezing open. Chicago is experiencing its third consecutive day of below zero temperatures. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Traffic is jammed on Sepulveda Boulevard as all exit ramps to Los Angeles International Airport are closed, causing major traffic problems, after a shooting incident at the airport November 1, 2013. A lone gunman stormed into a packed terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport and opened fire with an assault weapon on Friday, killing a federal security agent before he was shot and captured, authorities said. REUTERS/David McNew (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)
Afternoon commuter traffic is at a standstill on a Calgary street as a major winter snowstorm hit Western Canada Friday afternoon in Calgary, Alberta, December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA)
People walk across Westminster Bridge on the second day of a train strike in London, Britain December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY JAN HENNOP Thousands of bicycles are parked in a cycle parking lot near Delf Station, southern Netherlands, on October 21, 2012. Problems all-too familiar to car drivers the world over, from traffic jams to road-rage and lack of parking, are now also threatening to turn the Dutch dream of bicycling bliss into a daily hell. AFP PHOTO / JAN HENNOP (Photo credit should read Jan Hennop/AFP/Getty Images)

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