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Start Healthier Living by Bike Commuting

by Bike Shop Girl

Everyone that reads this site knows the benefits of commuting by bike.  Not only for the enviroment, saving money, less gas, air pollution and such, but also the health benefits.  You lose weight, while saving money.  There are other health benefits too, I’m certainly much happier when I ride my bike to work or the grocery store then driving.

Over at Good.is there is an study that shows the obvious benefits of going by bike and how it would effect the U.S obesity rate.

The average American is both overweight and spends more than 100 hours per year commuting, that vast majority of those hours being spent in a car. Are those numbers correlated? Could we help reduce our societal weight gain by encouraging more commutes by bike or foot? Our latest Transparency is a look at the number of active commutes in several countries, as compared to those countries obesity rates.

Make sure to the rest, and also check out the very nice graphic of various countries commuting by bike compared to their obesity levels.

Online : Good.is

 
Burley nomad 229

8 Responses to “Start Healthier Living by Bike Commuting”

  1. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    In the almost 5 years of commuting/utility cycling, my health issues from weight to back pain to blurring vision to depression to far less sick time to an on and on list…. Then I am doing something for the coming generations, something that those before me didn’t….. Then I am putting less need for wars. Then and on and on list…
    I will NEVER go back to the car-culture…

    But all is not that great, when I go running, sometimes woman look at me like.. I’m a piece of meat… Oh, I can run much farther and faster with all the biking…

    Ride and ride safe!!

  2. Doug Covey says:

    In Dr. John Medina’s book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at work, home and school he talks about the first brain rule: Exercise Boosts Cognition which increases productivity. I think we all can relate to the benefits, thanks for the post.

  3. Sean says:

    Given that the trips by foot and trips by bike are roughly equal on the graph for Canada versus the USA, it is interesting that Canada shows a lower obesity rate than the USA. Clearly something other than human powered travel levels are having an impact – like caloric intake. It’s simple math really – you have to burn more than you consume in order to lose weight and reduce obesity rates. Portion size people….

  4. Ghost Rider says:

    Sean,

    I wonder if Canadian cities are plagued by suburban sprawl, poorly-designed (read: unwalkable/unrideable) neighborhoods and an overwhelming demand for convenience like many U.S. cities?

    I attended a public health conference sponsored by Univ. of North Carolina a number of years ago, and the focus was this real kicker — urban/suburban sprawl forcing EVERYONE to drive just to get around and out of their neighborhoods…no sidewalks in sight, no provisions for traffic calming, direct road routes and everything else that goes with a poorly-designed community.

  5. Kevin Love says:

    Canadian cycling rates are over three times that in the USA. So much for the notion that winter prevents cycling!

    This was extensively analysed by John Pucher (one of my heroes!) in his article “Why Canadians cycle more than Americans.”

    This article may be found at:

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/TransportPolicyArticle.pdf

    From the abstract:

    “In spite of their colder climate, Canadians cycle about three times more than Americans. The main reasons for this difference are Canada’s higher urban densities and mixed-use development, shorter trip distances, lower incomes, higher costs of owning, driving and parking a car, safer cycling conditions, and more extensive cycling infrastructure and training programs. Most of these factors result from differences between Canada
    and the United States in their transport and land-use policies, and not from intrinsic differences in history, culture or resource availability. That is good news, since it suggests the possibility of significantly increasing cycling levels in the United States by adopting some of the Canadian
    policies that have so effectively promoted cycling and enhanced its safety.

  6. BluesCat says:

    I’m with Ghost Rider: we, as a society, need to rethink the way we design roads and transportation in general.

    The way we do it NOW has led to the flabbergasting opinion on the part of many motorists that we shouldn’t “waste” transportation money, at all levels, providing for the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians on “their” roads.

    For a jaw-dropping example of this, read the anti-bicycle/anti-pedestrian manifesto “Out of Gas” by Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ).

  7. Sean says:

    The graph on Good is an excerpt from a more recent paper, (also from Pucher) found here:

    http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/JPAH08.pdf

    One interesting and probably significant limitation to the findings is this:

    “Another limitation is that we were not able to control for other factors that
    could influence obesity rates. For instance, international differences in diet could
    contribute to obesity disparities. Unfortunately, energy intake cannot be readily
    compared among nations because of differences in the surveys and methods of
    analysis, as well as the subjective nature of dietary recall. However, there is
    some evidence of differences in portion sizes between countries. For example,
    Rozin et al found larger portion sizes in the United States compared with France.
    In our view, international differences in energy intake probably do exist, and this
    might be another factor contributing to disparities in obesity rates.”

    -DUH!

  8. I was suprised at the difference between responses on the good.is website and here.

    All of the replies here support the correlation as obvious. While most of the traffic on good.is is either attacking the hypothesis (extra factors etc.) or finds no correlation in the data.

    I typed all the data from their infographic into excel and looked at the correlation coefficients… Biking was 34% and Biking + Foot was 35%. For data found in the wild these are REALLY high correlation rates.

    Of course there are many factors left off any analysis of any real world problem, this is still a strong correlation result. Confirms my behavior!

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