If you want to live longer, you need to pedal faster. A new study by Danish researchers shows that it’s better to take a shorter bike ride at a fast pace than a long but slow ride. So forget about being polite when stuck behind those slow bikers, you should speed up if you want to live longer.
Over a time period of 18 years, the so-called ‘Østerbro study’ (Østerbro-undersøgelse) followed 5,106 men and women between the ages of 21 to 90. But even though the conclusion shows that it benefits cyclists’ health to cycle fast, just how fast you need to go to reap the benefits depends on the person. What’s essential to positively influence life expectancy, the study concluded, is gathering enough speed to increase your pulse.
“Taking a bike ride for two hours almost doesn’t give any benefits if you’re biking slowly. On the other hand, if you speed up, you’ll live longer than those who just take the slow ride,” cardiologist Peter Schnohr, who is behind the study, told Ritzau. “It varies from person to person. For a 90-year-old, it’s tough to go 12 km/h, while it takes a lot more to make a 20 year-old break a sweat. And there’s a big difference on people’s fitness. What’s important is to get up your pulse.”
The study was built on questionnaires in which the participants had to estimate how rough a bike ride was, so there’s no actual data of how fast cyclists were going.
The study also indicated that men are more likely to be positively affected by biking faster. According to Schnor, this may be do to the the fact that women already live longer, so it takes extra effort for them to further extend their life expectancy.