Best for losing weight: cycling to work


Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine compared different modes of travel over more than 150. attendees. They confirm that cycling remains one of the most effective exercises for maintaining or losing weight.

Physical activity above all. The study first showed that even if participants who go to work by bicycle, for example, have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than their colleagues who walk, overall all those who do not use the car or public transport have a reduced body fat rate.

The researchers worked from the UK Biobank, a database set up with the aim of improving the prevention , diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. They compared BMI percentage and body fat by more than 150.23 British men and women, aged 53 to 61 years , and their usual mode of transport.

Here, their analysis evaluated the relationship between the mode of transport and the risk of obesity in this sample. The analysis shows that the most common means of transport remains the car or public transport (64% of men, 61% of women). Active transportation (walking, cycling) concerns only 24% of men and 24% of women.

Cyclists are on average 5 kg lighter than the others

Participants who travel by cycling are also those with the lowest BMI. Male cyclists have a BMI reduced by 1.71 kg/m2 and female cyclists a reduced BMI of 1.65 kg/m2, vs their counterparts which only use passive transport.

Specifically, for a man of middle age and weight in the study (53 years, 1,75m, 92 kg), this finding equates to a substantial weight difference of 5 kg.

Body fat percentage is also lower for cyclists, i.e. reduced by 2.75% for men and by 3.26% for women. But all other active modes of travel also significantly reduce BMI and body fat.

Even if this is an observational study , which shows the association of active transport and a reduction in the risk of overweight and obesity, these data obtained on a very large sample, remind us of the importance of exploiting every opportunity, in a lifestyle that is after all sedentary and in the routine daily, to practice some exercise.


Dr Ellen Flint: Active commuting and obesity in mid-life: cross-sectional, observational evidence from UK Biobank The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Active commuting and obesity in mid-life: cross-sectional, observational evidence from UK. Biobank Volume 4, No. 5, p420-435,

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