Do you think you are doing yourself a favor by driving your car everywhere? Well... if you exercise, then no. But if you don't, then biking and walking is a great way to burn extra calories when you may not have time to work-out. Plus, you do your body a favor and the environment a favor.
Living in Tucson, Ariz., I know that there are several ways to get around town. A person can bike, take the bus, walk, or even take the trolly. I did some calculations at Healthstatus.com to find out how many calories you could burn by riding your bike.
If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., you would burn from 90 to 105 calories just by biking leisurely for 30 min. And if you weighed from 120-140 lbs., you can burn from 105 to 126 calories in 30 min.
If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., and you bike at 12-14 m.p.h., you can burn from 198 to 237 calories for 30 min. And if you are 120-140 lbs., calories burned are 237 to 277 calories. Numbers go up the more you weigh. For example, if you weighed 200 lbs., you would burn 396 calories!! There goes your bowl of cereal and your orange juice.
If you weigh 120 lbs., and you drive 30 minutes, you will only burn 57 calories... driving will not help shed those extra pounds!
If you weigh from 100-140 lbs. and you decided to walk 2 m.p.h. to the bus stop or work, in 30 min. you can burn from 63 to 88 calories. Walking 4 m.p.h will help you burn from 117 to 163 calories. If you weigh 200 lbs. and walk 4 m.p.h. you can burn 234 calories.
I think one of the reason why Americans have such a high obesity rate is because, compared to Europeans, Americans do not walk as much. According to the American Obesity Association, "Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese...Currently, 64.5 percent of U.S. adults, age 20 years and older, are overweight and 30.5 percent are obese."
In Europe, biking, walking, and talking the bus or subway is very common. I have been to Italy and France (two of the 27 countries I have visited because of tennis) and I have to say that the reason people were so skinny there is because they walk so much, everywhere!
Also, having traveled to both the West and East coasts of America, I realized that on the East coast, especially in New York, people are a lot skinnier. I am not sure if it has to do with the amount that people walk, but I did notice a difference in weight.
According to a table by the American Obesity Association, which shows the percentage of Adults with Obesity in the U.S. by State, shows the following: In 2001, California's population is 20.9 percent obese and in New York the population is 19.7 percent obese... so maybe walking a little extra does make a slight difference. In 2000, the American Obesity Association found that in the New England Region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), 16.95 percent of people are obese. And in the Pacific Region ((Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington), 19.1 percent of people are obese. In the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania), 18.41 percent are obese. Seems like the East Coast wins again by having less obese people.
The conclusion I grabbed from my research is that walking a little extra, or biking, might help your body and the environment. You can shed some extra lbs. and also help save that environment by reducing auto emissions.