Despite the general belief, a new study suggests that biking for as little as five minutes per day can help women in their 30s and 40s control their weight.
"A lot of information on physical activity provided to women is very general, encouraging daily activity, but not specifically what kind," said Keri Gans, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
According to the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, biking and walking are among the easiest exercises that one can incorporate into his/her everyday life in order to maintain weight. "Bicycling is an answer to weight control," said lead researcher Anne C. Lusk.
Compared to women who did not take up biking, those who biked for just five minutes per day gained about 680 fewer grams over the course of the study.
Women who increased physical activities including brisk walking and bicycling for 30 minutes per day managed to maintain their weight and even lose a few pounds over the time. While brisk walking helped overweight and obese women lose weight, slow walking was not associated with such effects, the study found.
"This is not suggesting that if you bicycle for five minutes you will immediately go back to the weight you were when you were 18," added Lusk, stressing that more infrastructure or facilities should be dedicated to bicycling so that individuals could comfortably bicycle.