A1 Journal article (refereed)
Cycling but not walking to work or study is associated with physical fitness, body composition and clustered cardiometabolic risk in young men (2020)

Vaara, J. P., Vasankari, T., Fogelholm, M., Koski, H., & Kyröläinen, H. (2020). Cycling but not walking to work or study is associated with physical fitness, body composition and clustered cardiometabolic risk in young men. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 6(1), Article e000668. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000668

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Vaara, Jani P.; Vasankari, Tommi; Fogelholm, Mikael; Koski, Harri; Kyröläinen, Heikki

Journal or series: BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine

eISSN: 2055-7647

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 6

Issue number: 1

Article number: e000668

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000668

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68299

Additional information: Data availability statement: Data are available on reasonable request. The Finnish Defence Forces own and manage the data, which are available for researchers who meet the criteria for access to confidential data.


Introduction: Active commuting is an inexpensive and accessible form of physical activity and may be beneficial to health. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of active commuting and its subcomponents, cycling and walking, with cardiometabolic risk factors, physical fitness and body composition in young men.

Methods: Participants were 776 Finnish young (26±7 years), healthy adult men. Active commuting was measured with self-report. Waist circumference was measured and body mass index (BMI) calculated. Aerobic fitness was measured with bicycle ergometer and muscular fitness with maximal leg and bench press, sit-ups, push-ups and standing long jump. Cardiometabolic risk factors were analysed from blood samples and selected variables (glucose, insulin, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure) were further converted to z-score to form clustered cardiometabolic risk.

Results: A total of 24% used active commuting consisting of 10% of walkers and 14% of cyclists. After adjustments for age, smoking, time of year, leisure-time and occupational physical activities, cycling was inversely associated with the clustered cardiometabolic risk (β=−0.11, 95% CI −0.22 to −0.01), while walking was not (β=−0.04, 95% CI −0.16 to 0.08). However, further adjustment for waist circumference attenuated the associations to non-significant. Moreover, cycling but not walking was inversely associated with BMI, waist circumference and maximal strength, while a positive association was observed with aerobic fitness (p<0.05).

Conclusion: This study shows that cycling to work or study has beneficial associations to clustered cardiometabolic risk, body composition and aerobic fitness in young, healthy adult men.

Keywords: physical fitness; body composition; cardiovascular diseases; epidemiology; physical activeness; incidental exercise; commute; cycling; walking (motion)

Free keywords: aerobic fitness; cardiovascular epidemiology; physical activity; walking

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 10:23