A new Danish study has found that "active commuting" is just as good at burning fat as working out at the gym each day.
"If you are overweight and inactive you can lose fat mass just as effectively and fast by starting to take the bike to work as by exercising in a fitness centre," reports a statement from the University of Copenhagen.
This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in a study that has just been published in the scientific journal International Journal of Obesity.
"Jump on the bike and enjoy the morning ride to work," said study supervisor Bente Stallknecht. "If you are overweight and inactive you can lose fat mass just as effectively and fast by starting to take the bike to work as by exercising in a fitness centre."
The professor added: "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. Our results show that it is possible to combine transport to and from work with effective physical exercise."
The participants – all of whom were obese and physically inactive before the study started – were divided into four groups of which one had to ride 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.
The group doing high intensity exercise lost the most weight.
"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," said study author Jonas Salling Quist.