Cycling to work is getting more and more popular as it’s a very practical way to look after yourself and your planet. But it can be a big change from your regular mode of transport…
If you’re still on the fence about cycling to work, let’s take a look at several benefits that come from cycling to work:
- for you
- for your work place
- for the environment,
#1: Cycling Increases Productivity Levels
Studies have shown that people who cycle to work experience increased productivity once they arrive at work.
Likely, this is because the exercise has helped them to fully wake up all of their faculties.
As a result, they’re:
Much of our daytime sleepiness comes from a lack of oxygen. So, getting the heart pumping oxygen-rich blood first thing in the morning helps to take away that sluggish, tired feeling.
This makes us tackle our workday with a positive mood, a clear head, and a wide-awake brain. It can only be good for our productivity level since we have energy to spare.
Your boss will be happier, and your to-do list will be shorter with all the vim and vigor you’ll get from cycling to work!
#2: You Can Skip Some Gym Classes
Speaking of productivity, cycling to work means you’re getting your exercise during your commute. So in many cases, you can simply cut out some of your gym classes in replacement of your new mode of transport.
This is going to give you back time that you otherwise would have had to spend in exercise classes or the gym. And it’s also going to save you some money that you would have otherwise had to spend in the gym!
#3: You Don’t Need To Buy Fuel
While we’re on the subject of saving money, cycling to work is a great way to reduce fuel consumption. Since a bike works on muscle power, there’ll be no need to buy gas or diesel.
While this does mean money back in your pocket, it goes even further than that. It means that the more people who cycle to work, the less fuel will be burned.
This can help to reduce the overall consumption of fossil fuels, which may help to slow the draining of our unrenewable fuel sources.
Less fuel burned also means fewer greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere. This may be a way to slow climate change.
#4: You Can Get Paid To Cycle To Work
Not only do you save money on gas, but you could earn a little extra on the side too! Probably the coolest perk of cycling to work is that you get paid to do it. No, really! In the USA, you can get $20 per month from the government for biking to work at least three days a week.
It’s tax-free, so you don’t have to pay it back at the end of the year. Now, granted, twenty bucks a month may not seem like much.
But considering that you have almost no cost associated with your daily commute, an extra $240 per year isn’t a bad reward for burning calories instead of carbon.
#5: Cycling Can Sharpen Your Mind
The increased oxygen in the blood delivered to the brain helps to improve mental clarity and cognitive function.
A good fifteen minute bike ride can help you “wake” your brain up.
Brain fog is a common complaint today because we are bombarded by so many things at once. Cycling can help you to sort out the “junk drawer” in your brain so that you’re clear and focused.
The fresh air and the calming effects of nature are responsible for this benefit of cycling. And it will benefit you in all walks of life, not just your work place.
#6: Cycling Expenses Are Less Than Driving Expenses
There is far less expense associated with cycling than with owning a car. For a bike, expenses are mostly limited to:
- Safety gear
Many of these purchases will not need to be replaced for several years after the initial purchase. Cycling to work will save you money on:
- Car maintenance
- Parking fees
You just may find that your paycheck goes further when you cycle to work.
#7: Parking Is No Longer A Hassle For Cyclists
One of the great perks of cycling is that you don’t have to spend ten minutes looking for a parking space. Just chain your bike to the nearest pole and you’re done.
Even if your employer doesn’t provide dedicated parking places for cyclists, it is still far less hassle to park your bike than to park your car.
You probably won’t have to pay a parking fee. Neither do you have to worry about someone parking too close to you and denting your bike with their door.
No maneuvering in close quarters to park or back out. When you’re ready to go, just unchain your bike and hop on.
Some employers are now offering parking spaces just for cyclists to encourage their employees to cycle to work.
#8: Traffic Jams Are Not An Issue
One huge advantage of cycling to work is that you are no longer stuck in traffic. While the automobile traffic may be grid-locked in a traffic jam during rush hour, you can sail smoothly on through to your destination.
In some of the major cities, you may get to work faster by cycling than by automobile. In the largest cities, traffic is so congested that it takes hours to get anywhere.
Cycling may cut significant time off your commute because you can avoid the grid-lock.
#9: Pollution Is Reduced By Cycling
Air pollution and carbon emissions are two of the major problems faced by city inhabitants today. So many automobiles on the roads make the smog and fumes oppressive.
Cycling to work can help to reduce these emissions and make the air cleaner for everybody. Fewer vehicles on the road mean less carbon monoxide in the air, which can only be good for our lungs and planet.
#10: Mood Is Improved By Cycling
Cycling has also been shown to elevate mood. Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed or had a fight with your significant other before work, cycling is effective at putting you to rights again.
It’s hard to feel depressed or angry with the wind at your back and the sun on your face.
Just being outdoors is great therapy for a depressed mood. And when combined with the benefits of aerobic exercise, your mood will be 100% better in no time.
#11: Sleep Is Made Sweeter By Cycling
Cycling has also been noted to improve quality of sleep. After a thirty minute (or longer) commute and a full day of work, one has no choice but to sleep.
But it is more than physical exhaustion that enhances sleep. Cycling helps the brain to relax by relieving anxiety. When the brain relaxes, it produces serotonin, which improves sleep.
Some professionals believe that those who cycle to work seem happier than those who drive or ride public transportation.
Not to mention that cyclists usually are not angry about getting cut off in traffic before arriving at work, unlike their driving peers.
#12: Cycling Reduces Anxiety and Improves Stress Levels
As mentioned about, cycling is known to help you:
- sleep better
- improve your mood
- make you more productive
- sharpen your mind
All these things point to a less anxious, less stressed you. This is particularly useful if you have quite a stressful job. It will improve the way you feel and approach things both at work and in your life.
#13: Cycling Improves Your Sense Of Direction
Cycling to work demands that you know how to get where you are going. For some people, this is no problem, but for those who are directionally challenged, it may a bit difficult.
A poor sense of direction will get you lost and waste valuable time. But worse than that, a poor sense of direction can land you in unsavory territory where your life could be in danger.
Cycling is a good way to help you improve your sense of direction, so you don’t get lost so easily. Once experienced, many cyclists tend to also discover easier or more scenic routes to travel to work, avoiding traffic altogether.
#14: Cycling Increases Your Awareness Of Your Surroundings
Cycling allows you to slow down and look at your surroundings. You may notice things from your bike that you would never notice from your car.
It’s a good way to engage with your community and take in the beauty around you. You’re more likely to stop and shop little stores you hadn’t noticed before.
You’re more inclined to speak to people passing on the sidewalk. Cycling makes you more aware of your surroundings, and in our world today, nothing could be more important than that.
#15: Heart Health Is Improved By Cycling
It is no secret that exercise is good for the heart, and cycling is one of the best methods of cardio exercise.
It is low impact, so it is suitable for all age groups, and it can be done at one’s speed, so the intensity doesn’t become too much.
Since the heart is a muscle, it needs:
Cycling strengthens the heart muscles by making them squeeze more effectively while simultaneously delivering more oxygen to the heart to be distributed to the rest of the tissues.
In fact, regular cycling has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 50% compared to those who are sedentary.
Cycling to work may be a simple way to ensure that your ticker keeps ticking at peak performance.
#16: Cycling Enhances Lung Function
Cycling also improves lung function. Aerobic exercise, such as cycling, forces one to breathe more deeply. This ensures the use of full lung capacity and better gas exchange, which results in healthier tissues.
Filling and emptying the lungs completely is essential for optimal oxygen distribution, which, in turn, is vital for tissue health.
A sedentary lifestyle rarely provides an opportunity to use the full lung capacity, so gas exchange is usually far less effective than it should be.
Vigorous exercise helps to increase the full exchange of CO2 for oxygen, so that the tissues remain healthy and uncompromised.
#17: Muscles Are Toned And Strengthened By Cycling
Cycling is a great way to tone and strengthen muscles. It requires the use of all core muscle groups in the:
This not only helps to build muscle; it also helps to keep muscle healthy. We have already discussed the relation between cycling and improved oxygen delivery.
Well, that oxygen is what keeps muscle young. So, cycling goes far beyond toning up flabby muscles or building bulk in muscles. It also keeps the muscles supple and strong.
It helps to improve balance and posture because cycling demands that you know how to leverage your body weight in managing the bike.
#18: Weight Loss Is Possible Through Cycling
With all the demands that cycling places on the muscle groups, it is completely possible to lose weight from cycling to work.
In fact, one study showed that twelve months of consistently cycling to work could net a weight loss of up to thirteen pounds!
Cycling also helps to maintain a healthy weight even if weight loss is not a primary goal. The consistent exercise helps to burn off unnecessary calories so that they don’t go to fat.
#19: Infection Transmission Rates Are Reduced By Cycling
Being in the great outdoors means that the air you breathe is not as full of contaminants as closed in spaces.
Even if you drive alone in your car, you still breathe in exhaust fumes and harmful substances. Cycling allows you to move in fresh air so that you contract fewer germs.
This can help to lower infection transmission rates. The increased air circulation helps to disperse germs and other substances that would be much more concentrated in a vehicle or a city bus.
Cycling to work means you don’t have to worry about someone coughing or sneezing in your face. You aren’t as likely to come in contact with germ-laden surfaces.
You are in greater control of your immediate environment, allowing you more effective infection control.
#20: Cycling May Help You Live Longer
Cycling has been proven to increase longevity in those who cycle regularly. Aerobic exercise and fresh air serve to make you healthier.
And healthy people live longer. Not only does cycling increase the number of years you live, but it increases the amount of life you can pack into those years.
Long life filled with disease is no life at all, but cycling keeps you healthy to enjoy the additional years of life.
#21: Cycling Lowers Risk For Disease
Cycling is reported to decrease the risk of all diseases. Of course, exercise is only one factor when it comes to risk factors for disease.
But overall, cycling can help to reduce your risk of:
- Heart disease
That’s a pretty fair return for a few minutes of cycling each day. And you’re essentially getting these benefits while getting to work.
Most people’s excuse for not exercising is that they don’t have time. Well, if you exercise on your way to work, you get in a good work out while making a necessary commute. So, it’s a win-win, and you get a few extra years of health out of the deal!
#22: Cycling Boosts Your Immune Health
Another health benefit of cycling to work is that the exposure to the sun helps to boost your immune system.
Sunlight provides vitamin D, which is absorbed through the skin. More vitamin D is absorbed in this way than through vitamins. The body excretes much of what is taken in through food or supplements.
Vitamin D is a super immune booster. Plus, the fresh air helps to clean out your lungs. All this results in:
- A more robust immune system
- Fewer doctor visits
- Less time off work for sickness
The stronger your immune system is, the better you can fight off foreign invaders like the common cold, which accounts for more than 126 million missed workdays annually.
A strong immune system is crucial for optimal health, and cycling is one way to give your immune system the boost it needs.
#23: Cycling To Work Helps You Positively Impact Your Workplace
You can encourage your workmates to join you in cycling to work. You can ask your employer to provide incentives for people to choose cycling over driving or taking public transportation.
This can populate your workplace with energetic, focused people who do their part to save the planet. One person doing something positive can have a knock on affect on the people around them.
Tips for a Safer Cycle Ride
While cycling has many advantages, there are also some dangers associated with it. You can reduce the risk of these dangers by following the rules of safety:
#1: Always Wear Protective
Always wear a bike helmet when cycling. The greatest danger associated with cycling is the danger of crashing.
Head trauma from a fall can result in severe disability or death, so always protect yourself by wearing your helmet.
For information about choosing a good cycle helmet, check out my article here.
#2: Avoid Going Off-Route
Unless you know the area super well, do not take shortcuts. Unfortunately, there are some really bad people in our world who like to hurt other people, and even one misadventure into an unfamiliar area could mean serious trouble.
Always stick to a well-traveled route where you can get help if you need it.
#3: Follow the Road Traffic Laws
Remember, traffic laws are there for everyone’s safety. Just because you are on a bike instead of an automobile does not mean you can flaunt the traffic laws. Doing so could cause a serious accident.
Always ride in the designated bicycle lane. It is not safe to ride on the shoulder of the road, and in some cases, it is illegal to ride on the sidewalks.
Obey signal lights and other applicable laws so that everyone remains safe.
Cycling to work is a relatively new phenomenon that is quickly catching on in the big cities. If you’re looking to make cycling to work even easier, check out my article “20 Cycling to Work Hacks: Save Time & Hassle”.