Intended for healthcare professionals


Promotion of cycling and health

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 18 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5405

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Nanette Mutrie, professor of exercise and sport psychology1,
  2. Fiona Crawford, public health programme manager2
  1. 1University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G13 1PP, UK
  2. 2Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Glasgow
  1. nanette.mutrie{at}

Modest effects in individuals could translate to large population effects

England’s chief medical officer in 2009 called physical activity a potential “wonder drug,”1 and promoting physical activity has been called a “best buy” in public health.2 In our sedentary and technologically advanced societies, population levels of physical activity are low, and knowledge about how to invest in this best buy is urgently needed. Our challenge is to find methods of making this wonder drug more palatable to more people more often.

Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Reviews of physical activity promotion suggest that an increase in everyday walking and cycling could generate a considerable public health gain.3 The evidence base for how best to promote walking is growing.4 Cycling is also a relatively simple and effective way for people to gain an adequate “dose” of regular health enhancing physical activity, and many people have access to a bike, but we know little about how to promote this activity.

In the linked systematic review (doi:10.1136/bmj.c5293), Yang and colleagues assess the effectiveness of …

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