The famous Dutch obsession with bicycles is clearly paying off – a recent study has shown.
While there have been a plethora of studies demonstrating the health benefits of cycling as a means to reduce the risk of sedentary lifestyle diseases and all-cause mortality, the study “Dutch Cycling: Quantifying the Health and Related Economic Benefits” – is the first to actually quantify the health benefits and related economic benefits at a population level in the Netherlands. Currently, about 27% of all trips in the Netherlands are made by bicycle and the weekly time spent cycling is about 74 minutes per week for Dutch adults of 20 to 90 years of age. Even more noteworthy and remarkable, over half of the total life expectancy increase calculated in this study is being achieved by cycling among adults aged 65 and older.
The study clearly shows that Dutch investments in bicycle-promoting policies, such as improved bicycle infrastructure and facilities, are likely to yield a high cost-benefit ratio in the long term. Health benefits translate into economic benefits of over 5% of Dutch GDP. To calculate the economic health benefits of cycling, HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool) uses a standard value of a statistical life (VSL) to monetize the number of deaths per year prevented by cycling. With a Dutch VSL of € 2.8 million per prevented death, investment in cycling is an extremely wise economic investment. The €0.5 billion per year spent by the Dutch government on road and parking infrastructure for cycling is estimated to yield total economic health benefits of € 19 billion per year!
Investments in high quality cycling policies and infrastructure produce great benefit over the long term. Cycling for transport delivers wealth and health, quality of life, for people and for cities.
If you were told by a Dr – take this magic pill daily and you will reduce numerous health risks, be fit and healthy……would you take it? Unfortunately the wonder pill doesn’t exist, however in its place we are going to prescribe everyone regular physical activity/exercise and put you on the path to the same results. A little motivation can go a long way.
Walking: the most accessible and easiest way for most to incorporate exercise into our lifestyles. It’s free, gentle &low-impact that requires no special training or equipment. Almost everyone can do it, anywhere and at any time. You could join a health walk, become a rambler or just walk to the shops. Check out the Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service to find out about the rich natural heritage surrounding us.
If walking isn’t your thing, how about cycling? You could go for the standard cycle or try out an electric bike. Electric bikes (e-bikes) work much the same as ordinary bicycles except they have an electric motor which works when you pedal to give a bit of a boost, making going uphill a lot easier! You don’t need a special license to ride one (as long as you are over the age of 14) and the bikes can be used on cycle paths the same as ordinary bicycles.
Talking of cycle paths, Aberdeenshire Council transport strategy team have just finished new local ‘Walking & Cycling maps’ for several Aberdeenshire towns which are to be launched soon. We are also hearing whispers of ‘Treasure Trails’ which sounds interesting, and as far as we are concerned – anything that encourages us to get out and about is a winner in our eyes. Want to know more? Visit http://getabout.org.uk/ for more information.
Tell us what would make you more active in your community. Is there a path near you which could be a great walking route, perhaps you would like to be able to commute to work by bike? We’d love to hear from you at email@example.com
“A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens.”
In a change from our previous blogs K & M Communities is going to focus on the topics you have told us are you important to you, the priorities in our Local Community Plan. They are;
- Strong Communities
- Connecting People
Over the next few weeks and months we will share with you some information and thoughts on these priorities, what’s happening in your local community and how you can have a voice in deciding what’s important in the future. We’re starting off with Connecting People. We hope you enjoy!
Cornerstone, an award winning and pioneering Scottish charity is looking to recruit new Board members to be part of our transformational and pioneering journey to transform social care in Scotland. www.cornerstone.org.uk
What we are looking for:
People with the passion to make a difference
Pioneering individuals who want Cornerstone to thrive
People with an understanding of what it means to be a Director of a company – both the responsibility and the privilege
We are particularly looking for people who have public sector experience in commissioning, health or social care policy and/or the planning and influencing of change in social work practice .
We would love to hear from people based in areas out with Aberdeen
As we are an organisation that embraces diversity we would love to hear from you if you are female, a person with a disability or someone from any other minority group
We are also interested in people who have experience of being cared for or supported by Cornerstone either the person themselves or a family member
If you would like to find out more please contact Edel Harris CEO or Peter Nicholson Chair of the Board on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01224 256001
SAMH HearMe World Café .Would you like to be involved in shaping the future of mental health services? We would like to bring together people with lived experience to express their views on how mental health services should evolve throughout South Aberdeenshire. We also want to hear from those who currently work in mental health services. Join us at our next HearMe World Café Conversation and help to influence positive change. The event is on Tuesday 22nd August 2017 from 11am-2pm in the Blue Room, Stonehaven Community Centre. Please note the change from the earlier date of 26 July. Attendance is free and a light lunch will be provided. Email email@example.com to book your place.