Why Cycling to Work Is Even Better Than You Think
If your cycle’s been gathering dust in your car park, you’re far from alone. Cycling UK estimates that only 3 – 4% of people over 16 in England cycled five times a week in 2016-2017.1
Why do so few adults choose to cycle to work? Those who do have excellent reasons for you to reconsider. In fact, cycling is statistically less dangerous than walking, and the health benefits far outweigh the risk of injury.1
Though you may not recall the exuberance of removing your training wheels from your first cycle, you can still experience the freedom of cruising down the street after a long day with the wind in your hair. If fun and free cycling isn’t a good enough motive for you to get out there, read on for four more reasons to start cycling to work.
1. Cycling Is Therapeutic
Cycling can literally give you a change of scenery from the doldrums you experience on your same daily route. It’s one of the best exercises you can do for your mental health. Biking helps release endorphins that increase your overall feeling of happiness. Furthermore, it reduces stress and anxiety while also improving self-esteem.2 Even if you don’t race home, you’ll be able to unwind and clear your head after a long day of work.
2. Cycling Is Great Exercise
There’s no shortage of reasons why cycling to work is excellent for your overall health. Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that is easier on your joints than running, doing lunges, jumping rope or other high-impact workouts.3 You set your own pace, allowing for more or less strenuous workouts whenever you choose. With toned muscles, strengthened bones, increased stamina and decreased stress levels, cycling can also help you prevent or manage illnesses.4
3. Cycling Saves You Money
Not only is a brand-new cycle far less expensive than the typical used car, but maintaining a cycle will cost you less money. You never have to pay for fuel again, and a well-maintained cycle can last for decades even if you decide against a top-of-the-line model. You can save more money if you opt to do the routine maintenance and troubleshooting yourself over taking your cycle into a shop. If you live in an area with public transportation, riding a cycle will still be less expensive than taking the bus every day. And when you get your recommended amount of exercise just by cycling to work, your gym membership won’t be necessary anymore. As a bonus, cycling commuters take one less sick day per year on average than their non-cycling counterparts.5
4. Cycling Benefits the Environment
With fewer cars on the road contributing to pollution, the overall air quality in your area can improve. Cities can also spend less on road maintenance, allowing them to reallocate the funds for other purposes such as cycle lanes. Cycling to work can also encourage others to make greener choices for the environment.
If you’re still on the fence, take your cycle out for a joyride. With just a few short trips out on the cycle, you’ll build your confidence and start having fun. And even if you don’t go out every day, you can still reap the rewards by cycling to work just a few times a month.
1Cycling UK. (n.d.). Cycling UK’s cycling statistics. Retrieved 31 January 2019, from https://www.cyclinguk.org/statistics
2Valvano, L. (11 July 2018). Exercise for mental wellbeing. Retrieved 31 January 2019, from http://www.stress.org.uk/exercise-for-mental-wellbeing/
3NHS. (n.d.). Benefits of cycling. Retrieved 31 January 2019, from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-health-benefits/
4Department of Health & Human Services. (30 November 2013). Cycling – health benefits. Retrieved 1 February 2019, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits
5Cycling UK. (n.d.). Cycling and the economy. Retrieved 1 February 2019, from https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaigning/views-and-briefings/cycling-and-economy