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Why cycling to work could be the most effective way to lose weight

Your commute to work could double up as an effective exercise routine

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People can lose just as much weight cycling to work as they could at the gym, researchers claim. Academics at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have analysed the behaviour of 130 overweight people who followed a generally inactive lifestyle. The participants were divided into four groups; one group had to cycle to and from work, two others had to do physical activity at high and moderate intensities and the last group functioned as a control. After six months all groups, except for the control group, had less fat mass. The fat mass had been reduced by 4.5 kg, when compared to the control group, 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.

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"The groups that cycled and were physically active during their leisure time burned the same number of calories a week during these activities; only the intensity and form of physical exercise varied," researchers said in a statement. "All forms of physical exercise are better than the control group, but high-intensity exercise is statistically better than moderate-intensity exercise. And 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 research assistant Jonas Salling Quist.

woman locking up bike

Cycling to work could be an effective way to lose weight

On average, those in the cycling group participants cycled an average of 14 kilometres per day. The high-intensity group exercised for approximately 35 minutes, and the moderate - intensity group exercised 55 minutes per day. Professor Bente Stallknecht added that the findings highlight the fact that there are many different ways to exercise.

"This is good news for 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. Our results show that it is possible to combine transport to and from work with effective physical exercise," he said. The full study has been published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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