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 Walking and biking to work linked with better fitness

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PostSubject: Walking and biking to work linked with better fitness   Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:16 pm

Monday July 13, 2009


Walking and biking to work linked with better fitness


Active commuters did better on treadmill tests, even when leisure activity accounted for, report says


- Walking or biking to work, even part way, is linked with fitness, but
very few Americans do it, according to a study of more than 2,000
middle-aged city dwellers.

In what may be the first large U.S. study of health and commuting, the
researchers found only about 17 percent of workers walked or bicycled
any portion of their commute.

Those active commuters did better on treadmill tests of fitness, even
when researchers accounted for their leisure-time physical activity
levels, suggesting commuter choices do make a difference.

For men in the study, but not women, the active commuters also had
healthier numbers for body mass index, blood pressure, insulin and
blood fats called triglycerides.

Women walked or biked shorter distances and they may have done so less vigorously, the authors speculated.
Crumbling sidewalks, lack of bike paths and sheer distances all keep American commuters in their cars, experts said.

"I would love to bike to work, but it is completely unsafe for me to do
so," said Penny Gordon-Larsen of University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, who led the study in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.
"There's one real small, narrow area where there's no bike lane."
She drives to work, but first she walks her kids to school.

The new study is based on tests and questionnaires from 2,364 workers
who were part of a larger federally funded study on heart disease risk.

The participants lived in Chicago, Minneapolis, Birmingham, Ala., and
Oakland, Calif.

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