World Heart Day

28 September 2021

What has World Heart Day got to do with walking and cycling?

This World Heart Day, we’re taking a look at the benefits of active travel for heart health. 

The World Heart Federation is an umbrella organisation uniting patient, medical and scientific groups into a global cardiovascular community. They run World Heart Day to raise awareness about cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer:

It has many causes: from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution… For the 520 million people living with CVD, COVID-19 has been heartbreaking. They have been more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus. And many have been afraid to attend routine and emergency appointments, and have become isolated from friends and family. 

So this year, more than ever, it’s vital that we are all aware of our own and our loved ones’ health. Read the World Heart Day leaflet for further information about the day and the work of the WHF.

A simple step we can all take to look after our hearts is to try and travel actively. Whenever we walk, wheel, run or ride to get around, we are helping to maintain good heart health.

A 2017 University of Glasgow study examined the links between health and active travel. 264,337 participants ‘were asked questions about their usual mode of commuting to work and then followed up for 5 years’. Then new cases of cancer, heart attacks and deaths over the period were assessed and related to their mode of commuting.

Dr Jason Gill said, “Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes. Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40% lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the 5 years of follow-up.”

Walking to work was also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Why not mark World Heart Day by thinking about how you get around and planning to do some or all of your regular journeys by bike or on foot? It will help you have a healthier heart and you might enjoy the journey more too.

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