Active commuting benefits confirmed in randomized trial
medwireNews: A randomized controlled trial confirms previous observational findings that active commuting is an effective means of reducing body fat, equivalent to doing five sessions of vigorous activity per week.
The 21 people who undertook commuting by bicycle lost 2.2 kg of fat mass over the first 3 months of the trial, whereas the 16 who continued their usual physical activity habits gained 1.5 kg, on average. The benefit of active commuting was equivalent to that achieved by 25 people who undertook five vigorous exercise sessions per week (at 70% maximal oxygen uptake), losing 2.0 kg of fat mass in the process. By contrast, moderate activity produced only a slight reduction in fat mass, of 0.7 kg in 33 patients.
“During leisure, the activity level is generally higher than during passive commuting, wherefore leisure-time exercise may have to be vigorous in order to not simply substitute one moderate intensity leisure-time activity with another,” write Jonas Quist (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and co-researchers in the International Journal of Obesity.
All study patients were relatively young – in their 30s – but were overweight or obese and not in the habit of taking regular physical exercise. Between months 3 and 6 of the trial, all three groups achieved further fat mass reductions, but these were only slight, which the team says implies “some degree of adaptation” to the exercise.
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