5 Benefits of Cycling to Work

Benefits of Cycling to Work

I am fortunate to work in a city and region that encourages people to cycle. There are bike paths in the downtown core, places to rent bikes and lock them up, and a hug network of  bike paths that provide a scenic tour as well as challenging ones through wooded areas. There is even Sunday Bike Days during the summer months where some roads are closed to cars and only open to bicycle traffic. Cycling has so many wonderful benefits and today’s post will look at how it benefits your commute to and from work.

According to a study published this year by The Conversation, they found that

cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.

This study also took into account the effects and benefits of walking to work. I think it is worth reading the results of their findings. The effects of walking and cycling were measured by comparing them with the non-active modes of transport. Cycling to work was associated with very large health benefits. Plus there are so many wonderful environmental benefits to consider by choosing to cycle or walk instead of taking a car.

One thing to note is that all of the observed benefits for both cyclists and walkers increased with the distance traveled. This is important because it means that even if you live too far from your job to cycle the entire distance, your health can benefit if you can ride a bike part of the way each day.

What You Need To Prepare

Before you consider biking to work you are going to want to take a look at this resource from Quill.com called the Top 7 things to consider when biking to work. Their post will make sure that you are fully prepared to take on this mode of transport. While it is a great idea to cycle to work the new post from Quill.com will remind you of some things you may not have considered, such as having storage at work for your bike and facilities to freshen up once you arrive to work. And before starting any new exercise regime it is always wise to consider your current health and check in with a physician first. Use the link as a checklist and you will be all set to begin your daily commute via bicycle.

5 Benefits of Cycling to Work

Now that you are prepared and have everything ready to cycle to work, here are 5 benefits (besides the statistics above) that cycling to work will have once you establish it as part of your routine.

1. Improves Your Mental Well-Being

There are so many ways that cycling can boost your overall mood: there’s the basic release of adrenalin and endorphins, and the improved confidence that comes from achieving new things (such as completing a distance goal or certain amount of days cycled to work).

Cycling combines physical exercise, with being outdoors, and exploring new views around your city and area. You can ride alone which gives you time to process worries or concerns, or you can ride with a group of people which broadens your social circle.

Overall well-being results in fewer sick days  for employees, which is a huge benefit for businesses to consider. Businesses – I ask you to consider introducing facilities where employees can store bicycles and have options to freshen up, or even shower.

2. Cycling Saves Time

Compare these three modes of getting to work:

  1. Get in the car, sit in traffic – sometimes for hours, find a parking sport, park, pay to park, arrive at work stressed out before your day has even begun
  2. Walk to the bus stop, wait for the bus and sometimes you wait and wait and wait some more because more often than not the bus is late, get on the bus (pay), some bus routes take you all around town (milk run) before you reach anywhere near your stop. Buses can be overcrowded and smelly too.
  3. Get on the bike, filter past traffic, arrive at work.

Overall cycling saves you time and money (savings from not buying gas, paying for parking, or paying to take the bus).

3. You will Sleep Better

Cycling to work may make you feel more tired in the short term but you will have a better night’s sleep overall.

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day. The result? The time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour.

4. Increases Your Brain Power

Researchers from the University of Illinois found that a five percent improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30.

“It boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s,” says the study’s author, Professor Arthur Kramer.

5. Cycling Boosts Your Problem Solving Abilities

Writers, musicians, artists, top executives and all kinds of other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions.

A study found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise (cycling falls into this) boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the flow of oxygen to your brain which in turn sparks your neurons and stimulates creativity and ideas.

There is still time to make some positive changes in 2017 and start off 2018 on the right track. Why not consider cycling to work?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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