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After the first six months of commuter cycling, researchers found strength increased more than 10% for both men and women. While the women's lung capacity dipped slightly, the men showed a 6% increase. Though they had only cycled for six months, the comparison group's results approached those of the original cycling group by the end of the year. Hendriksen believes this illustrates that the greatest rate of fitness improvement peaks at six months and levels off thereafter.

Hendriksen believes the results are clear. "Commuter cycling at a relatively low intensity as a part of normal daily activities can increase physical performance in men and women if repeated at least three times a week with a minimal distance," she writes.

Newman says there are other advantages to be gained by getting in the biking habit. "You burn more calories when you bike since you can do it longer than other activities such as running," says Newman. "Plus it's much kinder to your body, especially your knees."

Vital Information:

  • According to a new study, commuting to work on a bicycle can improve strength and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • For people at the lowest fitness level, cycling as little as two miles to work, three times a week for six months, was effective in improving health.

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