People who cycled to work were as physically active and burned the same amount of calories a week as those who indulged in high and moderate intensity of physical exercise in the gym, says a new study.
The research conducted at the University of Copenhagen involved 130 overweight people and discovered those who commuted daily by bike for six months shed virtually as many pounds as those who embarked on a weight-loss fitness programme.
Those who exercised in their leisure time lost 9.9lbs (4.5kg) over the study period while those who cycled lost 9.2lbs (4.2kg).
“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 Professor Bente Stallknecht, of the University of Copenhagen.
“Our results show that it is possible to combine transport to and from work with effective physical exercise.”
The participants were divided into four groups of which one had to ride the bike to and from work.
Two other groups had to do physical exercise five times a week, one at high intensity, the other at moderate intensity. The last group could make no changes and thus functioned as the control group.
After six months all groups, except for the control group, had less fat mass.
The fat mass had been reduced by 4.5 kg (compared to the control group) 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.