Are you overweight and have no time for gym? Take heart, you can lose weight just as effectively and fast as you might at a fitness centre, by biking to work, say researchers. The findings showed that “active commuting” using a bike is a good alternative to gym exercise in the fight against overweight and obesity. The people who cycled to work were as physically active and burned the same amount of calories a week as those who indulged in the high and moderate intensity of physical exercise in the gym.
“This is good news to the many overweight people who may not have the time or inclination to join a fitness centre because they also have to pick up their children and cook dinner after work,” said Bente Stallknecht, Professor, and Head of Department at the University of Copenhagen. “Our results show that it is possible to combine transport to and from work with effective physical exercise,” Stallknecht added. For the study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, the team divided 130 participants randomly into four groups: a cycling group, two leisure time exercise groups doing high-intensity and moderate-intensity physical exercise, respectively, and a control group.
The participants were 20-45 years old and had a BMI of 25-35 kg/m2. After six months, the results of the control group was put against the other three. The fat mass reduced by 4.5 kg in the group doing high-intensity leisure time exercise; by 2.6 kg in the group doing moderate-intensity leisure-time exercise and by 4.2 kg in the group riding the bike to work. “Riding the bike to and from work is at least as effective a means for reducing fat mass as exercising during your leisure time,” explained Jonas Salling Quist, Research Assistant at the varsity.