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.
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…
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.
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.
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.