Words by Lucy Bradford
There is no disguising the fact that the office can be a stressful place; in fact, last year, 37% of all work-related illness was due to stress. However, the solution to stress may be on the saddle.
Regular exercise, such as riding a bike to and from work, can help keep your stress levels at bay. Research shows that workers who are physically active take 27% fewer sick days than their inactive colleagues. Not only does cycling to work help prevent staff from being unwell, it also prevents a fraction of the 11.7 million sick days being taken per year.
Physical activity promotes the production of various hormones such as endorphins and cortisol, allowing you to manage stress more effectively while boosting your mood. Additionally, regular exercise can increase self-confidence. Not only can exercise raise spirits, it also increases performance as proven by a study conducted by Leeds University. The study found that employees who partook in physical activity during their lunchtime went on to work more efficiently.
Considering the positive effects of cycling to work, it is no surprise that in recent years, London alone has seen a 155% increase in people trading the tube for a bicycle. This increase is seen not only in London but across many cities. The result of which is that 760,000 commuters now cycle to work in the UK. A possible cause for the increase in those interested in cycling may well have been the 2012 London Olympics. Following the games, 52% of those surveyed indicated they were more inclined to cycle as a result of Team GB’s success.
If stress-reduction isn’t persuasive enough to get you cycling to work, maybe the impact on physical health will be. A five-year study carried out by Glasgow University found that health risks are significantly reduced for commuters who cycle compared to those driving or using public transport. To name a few, the risk of developing cancer is reduced by 45%, there is a 46% lower risk of heart disease and a 27% risk reduction of developing cardiovascular disease. The more your cycle, the greater the impact.
Cycling to work doesn’t have to be a difficult feat; Randstad CEO Mark Bull said of cycling, “You don’t have to be Jason or Laura Kenny to get the most out of cycling, and riding to work is great way to get fit, be healthy and if you work in a city, beat the traffic and avoid cramped train carriages,". With many companies running ‘Cycle to Work Schemes’, now really is the time to introduce cycling to your daily routine.
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