Effects of active commuting on cardiovascular risk factors: GISMO-a randomized controlled feasibility study

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2020 Aug;30 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):15-23. doi: 10.1111/sms.13697.


A sedentary lifestyle is a major modifiable risk factor for many chronic diseases. Lifestyle modification in order to increase exercise capacity is key in the prevention and rehabilitation of chronic diseases. This could be achieved by active commute. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of daily active commuting on physical activity (PA) and exercise capacity. Seventy-three healthy hospital employees (age: 46 ± 9 years, 38% male), with a predominantly passive way of commuting, were randomly assigned to two parallel groups, a control group (CG, N = 22) or an intervention group (IG, N = 51), which was further split into public transportation/active commuting (IG-PT, N = 25) and cycling (IG-C, N = 26). Both intervention groups were asked to reach 150 min/wk of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise during their commute for 1 year. CG maintained a passive commuting mode. All participants underwent assessment of anthropometry, risk factor stratification, and exercise capacity by a medical doctor at the Institute of Sports Medicine, Prevention and Rehabilitation. Weekly physical activity, using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and commuting behavior, using an online diary, were used to assess physical activity. At the end of the study, the change in exercise capacity did significantly differ between IG and CG (P = .003, ES = 0.82). Actively covered distances through commuting significantly differed between groups (walking P = .026; cycling P < .001). Therefore, active commuting improves exercise capacity and can be recommended to the working population to increase exercise capacity.

Keywords: active commuting; exercise training; lifestyle modification.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Walking / physiology*