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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2020 April;68(2):81-97

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4725.20.05182-8


language: English

An overview of cycling as active transportation and as benefit for health

Mariangela PERUZZI 1, Elena SANASI 2, Annachiara PINGITORE 3, Antonino G. MARULLO 2, Roberto CARNEVALE 1, 2, Sebastiano SCIARRETTA 2, 4, Luigi SCIARRA 5, Giacomo FRATI 2, 4, Elena CAVARRETTA 1, 2

1 Mediterranea Cardiocentro, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University, Latina, Italy; 3 Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 4 Department of Angio-Cardio-Neurology, IRCCS NeuroMed, Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy; 5 Division of Cardiology, Policlinico Casilino, Rome, Italy

Active transportation is defined as travelling on foot, by bicycle or other non-motorized means, sometimes in combination with other forms of public transportation, in contrast with the use of motor vehicles. The prevalence of sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity is a growing epidemic in most developed countries that spread over the last three decades; active transportation may be a promising approach to increase physical activity and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases improving cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiometabolic health. The health benefits of physical activity in reducing mortality and morbidity have been proved by several publications. Cardiorespiratory fitness can be improved by regular physical activity with an amelioration of insulin sensitivity, blood lipid profile, body composition, inflammation, and blood pressure. Active transportation as a daily physical activity is less expensive compared to motor vehicle use. The advantages are remarkable in terms of contrasting obesity and sedentary lifestyle, decrease motor traffic congestion and mitigate climate change. Massive investments in policies and interventions aimed to increase active transportation are not generally promoted and there are differences in the prevalence of active transportation in the daily routine among different areas. As in the literature several studies as randomized trials or observational studies have been published, with different end-points, in order to investigate if active commuting may be the right answer to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiometabolic health, we aimed to review the available evidences of cycling as an active transportation and to consider its benefits on health.

KEY WORDS: Bicycling; Health; Cardiovascular system

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