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Counter weight gain with a bike

  • 29 June 2010
  • Written by 
  • Published in Health

A Harvard/Brigham and Women's Hospital study confirms the long-held scientific position that moderate exercise, such as bicycle riding and brisk walking, helps to control weight gain as women age.


It's not rocket science, but people still don't seem to get it. Here is more proof that to lose weight you need to exercise.

Yet another study has confirmed what nutritionists, scientists, physicians, and many other professionals already know: If you want to control your weight gain over the years, then you need to moderately exercise on a daily basis. It works for women and for men, too!

The Archives of Internal Medicine paper 'Bicycle Riding, Walking, and Weight Gain in Premenopausal Women' was published on June 28, 2010 (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(12):1050-1056).

Its authors are Anne C. Lusk, Rania A. Mekary, Diane Feskanich, and Walter C. Willett.

They are associated with the following: Departments of Nutrition (Lusk, Mekary, and Willett) and Epidemiology (Mekary and Willett), Harvard School of Public Health, and Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School (Feskanich and Willett), Boston, Massachusetts.

The goal of their study was to compare bicycle riding and brisk walking in being effective ways to control weight gain in premenopausal women.

Page two talks about the study in detail, along with its results and conclusions.



The researchers, from Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital, studied 18,414 women in the Nurses' Health Study II. The 16-year study was conducted from 1989 and 2005.

Women participating in the study completed questionnaires as to their habits with respect to exercise, medical, and living.

At the beginning of the study, 39% of the women walked briskly and 1.2% bicycled for over 30 minutes per day.

When they increased this activity by another 30 minutes per day, from 1989 to 2005, their weight gain was significantly less for brisk walking (-1.81 kilograms [-3.99 pounds]) and bicycling (-1.59 kilograms [-3.51 pounds]) than it was for slow waking (+0.06 kilograms [+0.13 pound]).

For the women that reported they did not bicycle at the beginning of the study and increased that activity by at least 5 minutes per day, these women reported less weight gain (-0.74 kilograms [-1.63 pounds]) than did women who did not bicycle at all.

Overall, the women, on average, gained 9.3 kilograms (20.5 pounds) over 16 years.

However, those who regularly biked or walked briskly were less likely to gain as much weight as those who did not regularly bike or walk briskly.

Page three concludes.




The U.S. researchers stated, 'Normal-weight women who bicycled more than 4 h/wk (hours per week) in 2005 had a lower odds of gaining more than 5% of their baseline body weight '¦ compared with those who reported no bicycling; overweight and obese women had a lower odds at 2 to 3 h/wk (hours per week) '¦.'

The researchers concluded that 'Bicycling, similar to brisk walking, is associated with less weight gain and an inverse dose-response relationship exists, especially among overweight and obese women. Future research should focus on brisk walking and greater time spent bicycling.'

The findings add to overwhelming scientific evidence to the importance of moderate to vigorous exercise for weight control, especially as we age.

For additional information on Medline Plus website 'Weight Control.'

If begins, 'If you are overweight, you are not alone. Sixty-six percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Achieving a healthy weight can help you control your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. It might also help you prevent weight-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.'

'Eating too much or not being physically active enough will make you overweight. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat. A weight-control strategy might include

'¢    Choosing low-fat, low-calorie foods
'¢    Eating smaller portions
'¢    Drinking water instead of sugary drinks
'¢    Being physically active'




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