Health Buzz: Park the Car, It's Bike to Work Day

American League of Bicyclists encourages bike commuting; yoga may improve sleep in cancer survivors.


Are You Participating in Bike to Work Day?

You might have seen more bicyclists than usual during your commute to work today. It's Bike to Work Day, part of National Bike Month, when the American League of Bicyclists encourages Americans to choose bikes over other commuting options. How easy your commute will be by bike largely depends on where you live. Some states are considered more bike-friendly than others, according to the ALB's recently released rankings of Bicycle Friendly States. Washington, Wisconsin, and Maine are considered the top three friendliest states for biking, while Montana, North Dakota, and Alabama were ranked the least friendly. [Find out where your state ranks.]

Some cities are trying to make biking a more attractive option for commuters. New York City, for example, passed the Bicycle Access Law last year; it requires managers and owners of commercial buildings to, upon request, submit bike access plans—such as offering the ability to use freight elevators to transport bikes to workers' offices—to the city for approval. Since the passage of the law, 346 buildings have submitted such plans and 176 have been approved, according to the New York Daily News.

Yoga May Help Cancer Survivors Sleep Better, Feel Less Fatigued

Yoga may help improve the sleep disturbances and low energy levels experienced by cancer survivors—and help them cut back on sleep medications—according to results from the largest randomized controlled trial on this subject, which will be presented in June at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago. The study included 410 participants, mostly women, who'd finished cancer treatment in the two years prior to the study's start and had reported subsequent sleep problems, HealthDay reports. About half of the participants took part in Hatha and restorative yoga sessions lasting 75 minutes twice weekly for one month, while the other half were placed in a control group that received standard follow-up care for cancer treatment. After completing the study, those in the yoga group reported nearly twice the improvement in sleep quality as participants in the control group. Those who took yoga classes also used less sleep medicine, while those in the control group slightly increased their use of sleep medications. Another benefit: Those who took yoga were less fatigued and sleepy during the day than those in the control group. [Read more: Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors.]

"It is possible that gentle Hatha yoga classes and restorative yoga classes might be useful to cancer survivors in communities across the U.S. in helping with side effects of cancer treatment, " Karen Mustian, study author and assistant professor of radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, told HealthDay. "What we can't say at this time is that other forms of yoga, such as heated, or more rigorous types of yoga, would be effective in mitigating these side effects or be safe for cancer survivors."

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