More active patterns of travel were associated with a reduced risk of incident and fatal CVD and all-cause mortality in adults.
Walking down to office or cycling can increase the rate of life expectancy.
Physical activity, including less vigorous forms such as walking and cycling, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but despite this well-known benefit, levels of activity are still low in many countries.
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Imperial College London investigated the associations between using alternatives to the car which are more active for commuting and non-commuting purposes, and illness and mortality.
According to the research, cycling was less prevalent, being mentioned by 8.5% and 7% of regular commuters for commuting and non-commuting travel, respectively, and by 4.8% of other participants.
"More active patterns of travel were associated with a reduced risk of incident and fatal CVD and all-cause mortality in adults. This is an important message for clinicians advising people about how to be physically active and reduce their risk of disease," said the researchers.
The study concluded that interventions that encourage people to make more use of public transport, walking and cycling could be more widely promoted.
The findings were published in the Journal of Heart.