To quantify the association between time spent in active commuting and in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in a sample of working adults living in both urban and rural locations.
In 2009, participants in the Commuting and Health in Cambridge study were sent questionnaires enquiring about sociodemographic characteristics and weekly time spent in active commuting. They were also invited to wear an accelerometer for seven days. Accelerometer data were used to compute the time spent in MVPA. Multiple regression models were used to examine the association between time spent in active commuting and MVPA.
475 participants (70% female) provided valid data. On average, participants recorded 55 (SD: 23.02) minutes of MVPA per day. For women, reporting 150 or more minutes of active commuting per week was associated with an estimated 8.50 (95% CI: 1.75 to 51.26, p = 0.01) additional minutes of daily MVPA compared to those who reported no time in active commuting. No overall associations were found in men.
Promoting active commuting might be an important way of increasing levels of physical activity, particularly in women. Further research should assess whether increases in time spent in active commuting are associated with increases in physical activity.