Cycling to work is just as effective for losing weight as exercising at the gym, new research has found.
A study of 130 overweight people 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, who were aged between 20-45 years old, lived in Greater Copenhagen and had a BMI of 25-35 kg/m2, making them officially overweight.
The participants were divided into four groups of which one had to ride the bike to and from work, for an average of eight miles each day. Two other groups had to do physical exercise five times a week for either 55 minutes or 35 minutes.
The last group made no lifestyle change. After six months all groups, except for the control group, had less fat mass, with the only significant differences of weight loss in the lower intensity exercise group, who only lost 5.7lbs (2.6kg).
“Riding the bike to and from work is at least as effective a means for reducing fat mass as exercising during your leisure time,” said doctoral student Jonas Salling Quist from the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
The research was published in the International Journal of Obesity.