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Ergonomics. 2006 Nov 15;49(14):1486-95.

Bicycle messengers: energy expenditure and exposure to air pollution.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Occupational Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The purpose of the study was to determine the level of energy expenditure and exposure to air pollution for bicycle messengers. Relationships between heart rate (HR) and oxygen uptake, and between HR and pulmonary ventilation (VE) for each participant were established in laboratory tests. Air pollution and HR were measured during one working day. The total oxygen uptake was then described as the total energy expenditure in Joule (J) and in multiples of the energy expenditure at rest (MET). The mean energy expenditure during a working day (8 h) was 12 MJ, (4.8 MET). The level of air pollution exposure when cycling seemed to be comparable with the levels of exposure when sitting inside a vehicle. The VE during cycling was four times higher than resting value. Increased VE led to increased exposure to air pollution.

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