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Cycling or walking to work has big impact on fitness: study

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Were you warm and comfy behind the wheel with your coffee and favourite radio station during this morning’s commute?

How would you feel about strapping on a helmet and pedalling your way in to work? Research shows biking or walking in to work beats going to the gym, when it comes to keeping fit.

A four-year study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found people who commuted to work by car gained more weight on average, even if they engaged in regular exercise, than people who did not commute by car.

Or you can look at it like this: Even if you bust your behind in the gym and run or do other exercise in your leisure time, it doesn’t do as much good in preventing obesity as simply being active on your way in to work.

To curb obesity, it is recommended you get 60 to 90 minutes of activity daily. Most people have trouble fitting that into their schedules, but if you ditch the car for at least part of your commute and for common errands, it is much easier to make being active a part of your daily routine.

But it’s a tough sell for many commuters News1130 spoke with this morning.

“I’m working in quite a lot of different locations and it would be quite the exercise, I would say,” chuckles Allan. “I’ve tried it before. I’ve used Skytrain and had to be careful when I was using it to makes sure there’s room and it wasn’t very practical at all, unfortunately.”

“I do cycle on a regular basis,” counters Al, while waiting for the B-Line bus with his mountain bike. “I do it for both [the economic and health benefits].”

“But I’ll be honest: I’m a teacher and I’ve just been off for two weeks and I’ve put on some pounds. Because I wasn’t going to school to teach, I was cycling less and I was exercising less. Even after two weeks, I did notice a difference in my weight,” he adds.

The authors of the study recommend creating more opportunities for everyone to walk or bike to work to improve public health.