April 13, 2009

To lose weight, use public transportation

Canadian researchers say users of public transit are three times more likely than others to be fit and as a result may not have to use the gym.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, find users of public transportation more likely to meet the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, five days a week that Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends.

Travel surveys from metropolitan Atlanta -- 4,156 in number -- were used to determine transit and car trips. The researchers say people who drove the most were the least likely to meet the recommended level of physical activity.

The idea of needing to go to the gym to get your daily dose of exercise is a misperception, study researcher Frank Lawrence of the University of British Columbia says in a statement. These short walks throughout our day are historically how we have gotten our activity. Unfortunately, we've engineered this activity out of our daily lives.

Frank says promoting transit incentives -- such as employer-sponsored passes or discount fares -- would be much easier than restructuring existing neighborhoods."