Cycle 4 health
Cycling on prescription: Our pioneering patient referral scheme with Cycling UK
People across West Yorkshire are reaping the physical and mental health benefits of cycling thanks to our pioneering referral scheme, which sees patients being prescribed the activity by health care professionals.
Our Cycle 4 Health scheme, delivered in partnership with Cycling UK, is aimed at tackling health inequalities by providing people with long-term conditions with the skills to start and continue cycling over 12 weeks of training. The project is now in its 4th year and has delivered training courses to over 800 people out of 8 cycling hubs across West Yorkshire
During the first full year of delivery 240 participants took part in Cycle 4 Health, following referrals from GP surgeries, hospitals, Clinical Commissioning Groups and mental health charities.
Figures from the first year showed that at the start of the programme nearly all of the participants reported they did not cycle at all.
Six weeks after the course had ended, however, 68% had at least maintained or increased their level of cycling, 70% reported their fitness had increased and each participant was cycling on average more than two hours each week.
There were also considerable improvements in mental wellbeing, with participants reporting a 30% increase in confidence, a 33% increase in feeling close to others and a 26% increase in feeling relaxed.
Meet Jacqueline Sharp, Assistant Practitioner Occupational Therapy at Fieldhead Mental Health Hospital, Wakefield, where patients have been accessing free cycle training through Cycle 4 Health to aid their recovery.
There is a well-established body of research highlighting the physical benefits of cycling.
A major study by the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal found people who regularly travelled by bike nearly halved their risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
Physical activity has also been shown to increase positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reducing anxiety and stress, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
We also provide free adult cycle training for all abilities and maintenance courses at venues across West Yorkshire. Book a place on one of our courses