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Ride your way to a long, disease-free life

Forget super foods and fitness fads, living a long, healthy and disease-free life could be as easy as riding your bike for only 10 hours a week.

A study from the University of Sydney has found that adults who engaged in the most exercise were twice as likely to avoid age-related illnesses such a heart disease and diabetes.  

Over 10 years, researchers analysed the health of 1,584 adults aged 49 + years living west of Sydney (Australia), who did not have cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke. 

The study found that those in the highest health category performed at least 5,000 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET minutes) of activity each week, averaging just over 700 MET each day. 5000 MET minutes is the equivalent of roughly an hour and a half of bike riding each day – 10.4 hours a week.

This far exceeds the minimum 600 MET minutes of physical activity recommended by the World Health Organisation – 150 minutes of brisk walking or 75 minutes of cycling each week.  

It’s also a lot more activity than the 30 minutes widely recommended by the Australian Department of Health Physical Activity Guidelines.

An hour and a half of bike riding each day may seem a lot – but once you ride to and from work, pump up the intensity and throw in some cross training like walking, weights or swimming, you’ll reach it in no time.

The benefits of exceeding 600 MET minutes each week are also reinforced by other research from the US and Australia. There appears to be a clear link between higher levels of physical activity and a reduced risk of disease, particularly for older adults.

In fact, one study found that the most health gains occurred when people reached between 3,000 and 4,000 MET – cycling for 25 minutes a day over a week. 

But, who doesn’t need another great excuse to go for more bike rides?   

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