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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Apr;19(2):179-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00776.x. Epub 2008 Feb 17.

Commuter cycling: effect on physical performance in untrained men and women in Flanders: minimum dose to improve indexes of fitness.

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  • 1Department of Human Physiology and Sports Medicine, Policy Research Centre Sport, Physical Activity and Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit LK, Pleinlaan Brussels, Belgium.


The purpose was to examine (1) the effect of cycling to work on physical performance; (2) the minimum weekly energy expenditure needed for fitness improvement based on the dose-response relationship between total caloric expenditure and fitness changes. Healthy, untrained men and women, who did not cycle to work, participated in a 1-year intervention study. Sixty-five subjects were asked to cycle to work at least three times a week. Fifteen subjects were asked not to change their living habits. All measurements were performed on three consecutive occasions, with 6 months in between. Maximal external power (P(max)), heart rate, respiratory exchange ratio and peak oxygen uptake (VO(2peak)) were assessed. Cycling characteristics and leisure time physical activities were reported in a dairy. A significant change over time between both groups was seen for VO(2peak) (/kg) in the total group and the women and for P(max) in the total group. Correlations were found between VO(2peak) (/kg) (r>/=0.40) and kcal/week and min/week. Preliminary results indicate that the minimum expended energy needed for the improvement of indexes of fitness is higher for men compared with women.

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