Most current health guidelines suggest adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise several days a week. According to a recently published 1989 national study on health and lifestyle, it appears that women who rode a bike for just five minutes a day gained 1.5 fewer pounds during the study than women who didn’t start cycling.
At the beginning of the study, half of the women reported walking slowly, 39 percent said they walked briskly, and 48 percent said they biked (including on a stationary bike).
Dr. Anne Lusk, Ph.D., a research fellow in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, is the lead author of the study. The study followed more than 18,000 premenopausal women (all nurses) between the ages of 25 and 42 for 16 years. During that time, the women gained an average of about 20.5 pounds. Women with chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes were excluded from the study.
Women who increased their daily biking by 30 minutes during the study kept even more weight off, gaining about 3.5 fewer pounds than those whose biking habits stayed the same. By 2005, the study results showed the participants’ average physical activity had increased slightly but remained low overall.
As stated in the CNN article, “nine percent of commuters in the U.S. walk to work and just 0.5 percent bike, according to data cited in the study. By contrast, in the Netherlands, where the roads are more bike-friendly, 22 percent of commuters walk to work and 27 percent bike.”
Sounds like we need more bike paths and share lanes. And I need to get off my lazy butt and ride more regularly. I’m 41 now and weigh 154 pounds. At 25, I weighed 125. Twenty of those 29 pounds I’ve managed to put on within the last two to three years. Of course my metabolism has changed significantly in the past few years, but it’s time for some major changes.
Today’s food journal (speaking of needing to make major changes):
— Pumpkin muffin (Panera) = 530 cal.
— Strawberry smoothie (Panera) = 260
— Grilled cheese on whole wheat = 431
— Chips (about 1/2 cup) = 60
— Iced tea = 0
— Lean Cuisine tortilla fish = 330
Snacks (over the course of the afternoon):
— 5 small Tootsie Rolls = 117
— 3 bite-size Reece’s peanut butter cups = 108
— 3 bite-size York peppermint patties = 3
Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!
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