Cycling and mental health


A recent International Journal of Epidemiology study uses an instrumental variable approach to explore whether cycle commuting alleviates adverse mental health conditions.

According to the 2011 census, 1.85% individuals in the Glasgow City Council area cycled to work, whereas 4.8% of people living in the Edinburgh council area cycled to work. As compared to women, men were more likely to cycle to work. In the study cohort, 15.6% of females and 9.1% of males had prescriptions for anxiolytics or antidepressants.

Among those who cycled to work, 7.5% of males and 10.2% of females had a prescription for anxiolytics or antidepressants. These numbers increased among non-cyclists, at 9.2% of males and 15.7% of females, thus implying that cycling to work reduced mental illness, which was reflected through lower prescriptions for antidepressants and/or anxiolytics.

The results of the sensitivity analyses were consistent with previous research that observed a relationship between cycle commuting and different health domains.

Importantly, the daily commute is dependent on weather, season, topography, and meteorology.

Source: International Journal of Epidemiology