More than 1,000 people have taken part in the trial since it was launched four years ago in Yorkshire. The scheme allows doctors to offer patients with long-term conditions a 12-week cycle training. If it’s deemed successful, it could be rolled out across the UK. The organization Cycling UK claims the trial showed riding a bicycle was good for overall well-being.

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“Cycling UK has always known cycling can help people with both their physical and mental wellbeing – and in West Yorkshire we’ve now got the evidence,” Jenny Box, Cycling UK’s head of development, told the BBC. “We would love to be able to bring the gift of cycling to other parts of the country and help other people on to the path to recovery.”

Cycling commuters in London. © Profimedia, Alamy

Before joining the training, only 18% of participants were meeting the NHS activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week; that figure rose to 73% afterwards. The clients reported an increase in confidence and were feeling overall more relaxed.

BBC talked to Dan, 31, who developed depression and anxiety after suffering a bereavement. The man from Featherstone had this to say about the programme: “You might have a bad week and you’ve had this to look forward to, and you’d come here and you might feel a little bit low, feel a bit tired, a bit drained but you’d leave it feeling invigorated and energetic.”

© Profimedia

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