“Low fitness is as strong a predictor of mortality as other risk factors, including smoking and obesity. Physical inactivity is becoming the biggest public health problem as the proportion of overweight and inactive Australians continues to rise” says Rodney Dedman from CycleCityWest. Dedman refers to a recent report by the International Sport and Culture Association and the Centre for Economics and Business Research entitled ‘The economic cost of physical inactivity in Europe’ indicate that a lack of physical activity – along with unhealthy diets – is a key risk factor for major non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes. However, the study shows that even a moderate level of daily physical activity could yield high returns.
For example, taking up cycling could help health services save up to €1,300 ($2,000 AU) per person per year. The European Public Health Alliance, found that exercising 20 minutes per day would reduce heart disease by 12 % and reduce some types of cancer by over 20%. “Twenty minutes of active transport, like walking or cycling to work, school or the shop is exceedingly possible for most people in Melbourne’s west”.
The benefits of cycling extend beyond reduced healthcare costs too. “Reducing the number of people driving cars means less congestion, air and noise pollution, as well as many local business opportunities” says Dedman. Source: ‘The economic cost of physical inactivity in Europe’ by the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) published on 18 June 2015