8 healthy reasons to ride to work

Cycling to work is a great way to get fit, save money, protect the environment and wake yourself up in the morning – and it’s great every day of the year. Even if you rarely ride to work, here’s why you should keep it up. And if rolling to work is commonplace, here’s some facts to share with your oft bemused colleagues.

 

 

1) Cycling to work is an excellent way to fit exercise into your routine

Many new exercise routines stutter when the alarm goes off at an hour we’re not sure should even exist, or when we face the decision of driving home vs driving to the gym at 6pm as the office door closes. Choosing to Ride-to-Work doesn’t take away extra hours from your day, it simply allows you to utilize the time that would otherwise be spent on the train, or stuck in a tin can.

If you live quite far away from your work, don’t forget you might be able to explore the option of getting a train or driving half way, and riding the rest of the journey – a folding bike could make this your new time saver.

 

>> A prescription to ride – boosting mental wellbeing through cycling <<

 

2) Cycling burns calories

Cycling to work will burn more calories than sitting on public transport or driving yourself. Calories burned depend upon intensity, your current weight, and how much of that is muscle vs fat – approximately, the average 70kg male riding for 1 hour at 14-16mph will burn 700 calories.

Of course, all the new muscle you’re building will also boost your metabolism, which in turn means you will burn more calories sitting at your desk, and even sleeping.

 

 

3) Cycling improves cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease includes stroke, high blood pressure and heart attacks – none of those sound good to us, and regular exercise will reduce your risk dramatically. Cycling works the heart muscles, lowering the resting pulse and reducing blood fat levels. Of course, most regular forms of cardio will do this – but riding your bike is good because…

 

4) Cycling is a low impact exercise

All exercise is not equal. Running, squash and sports that involve weight bearing are often higher calorie burners, but every step puts pressure on the joints. Riding a bike, weight is supported by the saddle and handlebars, so you can exercise with a lower risk of picking up an overuse injury. This also means you can ride for longer – a 3 hour ride is common practice for a road cyclist – and on the right day this provides a great way to enjoy the weekend.

 

 

5) Cycling is a great release from mental stress

What’s going on in your head has a huge impact upon your health. After completing a study into the effect of endurance exercise on mood, Professor Henning Boecker stated: “There’s a direct link between feelings of wellbeing and endurance exercise of all kinds.”

Any exercise will release chemicals in the brain that can conjure a smile, but cycling also combines this with the joy of getting outside and provides the ability to see new parts of the world. Riding through the countryside, or taking it off-road through the woodlands has got to be more fun than staring at the screen of a treadmill…

 

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6) Cycling works muscles and builds strength

The hillocks on your commute might seem like mountains now, but after a few ascents your muscles will develop and they’ll start to feel much more achievable. Cycling doesn’t just build strong hamstrings, quads and calfs, though – holding the position will work your core, too – giving you an all body workout.

The sense of achievement that comes from getting yourself to the other side of what once appeared to be a major feat can also provide a great sense of satisfaction.

 

 

7) Cycling exercises your brain

Cycling won’t just improve your body; it’ll make you more alert and sharper – improving your brain health. A study by Professor Arthur Kramer showed that when respondents improved their cardiovascular health by 5% through cycling, they improved by 15% in mental tests.

Not only this, but pedalling requires co-ordination and balance, all good for keeping your mind ticking.

 

>> How cycling will get you in shape <<

 

8) Cyclist inhale fewer fumes

You might be forgiven for believing that cyclists, exposed to the outside air, would inhale more car fumes. Not so. A study carried out by Imperial College London found that on average, people in cars inhaled 40,000 ultrafine particles (nasties which can damage cells in the lungs) per cubic centimetre, whilst cyclists only inhaled 8,000. They believed this was because cyclists are riding closer to the edge of the road, not often directly behind other vehicles.

 

>> Swapping cars for active travel will do most to cut pollution <<

 

Have we convinced you? If so – check out our advice on commuting in our brand new advice hub for information on how to make the commute the best part of your day.

Don’t forget you can save on a new bike with the Ride-to-Work scheme, ran by Evans Cycles.

 

>> Have you heard about Evans Cycles Trade In? Learn more here <<

 

 

Comments

David Robertson 29/04/2018

Agree with every point on here from personal experience. As I headed for my 50th year I decided to make a real effort and start cycling the 22 mile round trip to work. Within 3 months I’d lost around 11kg in weight, got myself well into the ‘Healthy’ BMI bracket and reduced my blood pressure. I found I felt sharper at work after a 45 min workout and a shower than I ever did, I felt more productive and energised from the minute I started.
Fast forward a year and I was on secondment in another city, the facilities at my workplace were non existant and I gave up on my routine. In 15 months I put all that 11kg back on and my blood pressure had crept up again.
Back home in 2018, I started the routine again in late February, and now, just 9 weeks in, I have lost 7kg in weight again and my blood pressure is under control. Just creeping into the Healthy BMI bracket again too.
There’s days when I get up, look at the car sat on the driveway and have to give myself a reminder of just how good I will feel in an hours time when I have done the ride to work and step out of the shower. It is without doubt the most positive thing I have ever done to improve my fitness and wellbeing. I’ve gone from averaging around 11mph at the start to near 16mph in recent weeks. You can make a huge difference to your health over a very short period of time, and it’s never too late to start.

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JOHN P 9/05/2018

Well done, David. That is fantastic. I’m using my commute as a way to fit in some training for an upcoming event and still be able to spend some time with my family.

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Steven Keirs 9/05/2018

Couldn’t agree more, I cycle a 32 mile round trip to work having to get out of bed at 03:50 to do so early week and 06:45 following week….yes it’s a thought some days and on occasion I still use the car but fewer and fewer….losing weight I’ve struggled to lose, feel fitter and healthier and it is without a doubt a sense of achievement…..oh and I’m 55 years old having really only taken up cycling 4 years ago……love it and would recommend to anyone

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Michael Fenwick 9/05/2018

Good on you.
I do 25 miles round trip every day, rain or shine and feel great.
Every person should give it a go.

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Paul Barow 10/05/2018

I have to agree with all the article comments. I have just started cycling more. At the moment doing 3 one hour rides a week. I have been struggling with high blood pressure the past year. Not been controlled at all with meds. Since cycling more its come down to acceptable level and regularly so. I have always felt cycling is good for you mentally and for ridding yourself of stress. I shall be certainly be on my bike regularly from now. I can’t cycle to work as A69 too dangerous and retire soon but will find time to get on my bike.

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