Copenhagen: A new study conducted at the University of Copenhagen shows that inactive, overweight people can lose fat mass just as effectively by riding the bike to work than by exercising in their leisure time. It is a time-effective solution if you want to be physically active, but lead a busy everyday life, the researchers say.
on the bike and enjoy the morning ride to work. 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.
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
‘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’, says Professor and Head of Department Bente
The Tell-Tale Heart Rate MonitorThe study involved 130 overweight people with a BMI of 25-35 kg/m2.
A criterion for participating in the study was they were not too active
or muscular based on a series of parameters like body fat percentage,
maximum oxygen uptake and level of physical activity.
The participants were divided into four groups of which one had to
ride the bike 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 groups that cycled and were physically active during their
leisure time burned the same amount of calories a week during these
activities; only the intensity and form of physical exercise varied.
Throughout the test – using the heart rate monitors, among other things –
the researchers checked that the participants met the requirements and
did the physical exercise they were asked to do.
Cycling WorksAfter six months all groups, except
for the control group, had less fat mass. The fat mass had been reduced
by 4.5 kg (compared to the control group) in the group doing
high-intensity leisure time exercise, 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. The difference between the three physically
active groups was only statistically significant between the two groups
doing leisure time exercise.
‘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’, says Research Assistant Jonas Salling Quist from the
Department of Biomedical Sciences who participated as PhD student and
author of the study.
Read the entire study: ‘Effects
of active commuting and leisure-time exercise on fat loss in women and
men with overweight and obesity: A randomized controlled trial’
Facts about the study130
participants randomly divided into four groups: a cycling group, two
leisure time exercise groups doing high-intensity and moderate-intensity
physical exercise, respectively, and a control group.
The participants were 20-45 years old, lived in Greater Copenhagen and had a BMI of 25-35 kg/m2.
The cycling group participants cycled an average of 14 kilometres per
day. The high-intensity group exercised approx. 35 minutes per day and
the moderate-intensity group exercised 55 minutes per day.
High-intensity exercise was defined as 70 per cent of the maximum
oxygen uptake, while moderate-intensity exercise was 50 per cent.
The duration of the exercise was six months, and the participants
were asked to exercise five times a week. The energy expenditure doing
leisure time exercise and cycling measured in kcal per week was the same
in all three intervention groups.
The study is part of the research programme Governing Obesity funded by the University of Copenhagen Excellence Program for Interdisciplinary Research.
ContactProfessor Bente StallknechtTlf. +45 28 75 75 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scientific assistant Jonas Salling QuistTlf. +45 26 17 60 64
Press Officer Mathias TraczykTlf. +45 email@example.com