Cutting down on travel time could play a factor in weight loss
Reducing the time spent sitting behind the wheel, even by a small amount, can lower an individual's body mass index (BMI).
When considering losing weight, most people tend to think of eating healthier, exercising more often or going on a diet. But according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers, traveling by car also impacts body weight, as simply not sitting down for extended periods can potentially add to the needed amount of exercise per day. Reducing the time spent sitting behind the wheel, even by a small amount, can lower an individual's body mass index (BMI). Their findings are published in the journal of Preventive Medicine.
Living healthier, driving less?
Kicking calories to the curb
"An easy way to be more physically active is to spend less time in an automobile. Any time a person sits behind the wheel of a car, it's one of the most docile activities they can do in a day," said computer science and mathematics professor Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D, of the University of Illinois. "The automobile is the quickest mode of transportation we have. But a consequence of this need for speed in getting things done may be the obesity epidemic."
Based on CDC statistics, less than half of all adults in the United States meet the latest Physical Activity Guidelines. By spending less time traveling in a car and exercising more often, individuals can potentially take a step in the right direction to weight loss.
"We're saying that making small changes in travel or diet choices may lead to comparable obesity reduction, which implies that travel-based interventions may be as effective as dietary interventions," said co-author of the study, graduate student Banafsheh Behzad.