The Contribution of Commuting to Total Daily Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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Background: Actively commuting to and from work can increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and increase adherence to physical activity (PA) guidelines; however, there is a lack of evidence on the contribution of mixed-mode commutes and continuous stepping bouts to PA. Many commuting studies employ the use of self-reported PA measures. This study objectively determined the contribution of MVPA during commuting to total MVPA, using cadence to define MVPA, and explored how the length of stepping bouts affects adherence to PA guidelines. Methods: Twenty-seven university staff wore an activPAL activity monitor for seven days and kept an activity diary. The activPALquantified MVPA and bouts duration and the activity diary collected information about commute times and the modes of commute. Twenty-three participants with at least four days of data were included in the final analysis. Results: The median total time per day spent in MVPA was 49.6 (IQR: 27.4–75.8) minutes and 31% of the total time was accumulated during commuting (median = 15.2 minutes; IQR: 4.11–26.9). Walking and mixed-mode commuters spent more time in MVPA (37.6 and 26.9 minutes, respectively), compared to car commuters (5.8 minutes). Seventeen out of the 23 participants achieved more than 30 minutes of MVPA per day, with five achieving this in their commute alone. A significant positive association was found between commute time spent in MVPA and total MVPA (p < .001). Conclusion: Commuting can be a major contributor to total MVPA, with the mode of commute having a significant role in the level of this contribution to total MVPA.

The authors are with the School of Health and Society, University of Salford, Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Gbadamosi (a.r.gbadamosi@edu.salford.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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