Have you ever experienced getting stuck in traffic on your way to work? Most of us have. We know the frustration that it causes and worse, there is not much you can do about it. Instead of feeling negative every morning, you can search for an alternative method that won’t just do wonders for your health.
It’s time to trade your four-wheeled friend with a two-wheeler – a bicycle. Biking to work requires physical activity and this will become part of your regular workday routine. Consider this extra effort as a way to physically stay active and as a result, your finances, your health, and even the environment will all benefit. Here are some benefits of riding your bike to work:
1. You’ll save a lot of money
Gas prices have become very expensive now and sadly, they will continue rising. Studies have shown that the cost of owning a midsize vehicle is over $8,000 per year. For a bigger vehicle, the cost can be more than $10,000.
Compare these figures with a bicycle that will only cost around $300 to maintain each year. With all the money you save, in a couple of years, you could buy a new car for yourself, complete with all of the accessories you have always wanted!
As an added bonus for using a bike, your health through exercise will improve too. Because of this, your healthcare costs will decrease. When you’re healthy, it becomes less likely that you will get sick, have cardiovascular problems, or need a doctor. All of these because of the exercise benefits of riding a bike.
2. It may lengthen your life
When you use your bike, you won’t need to go to the gym as much because the exercise you get will burn calories. How many calories varies depending on your speed and the terrain you ride on.
On average, cycling burns as many calories as jogging, but with fewer negative effects on your joints. Moreover, cycling improves your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, boost your energy, improve your coordination, and build your muscle mass. Biking as a means to commute is like sneaking its health benefits into your life without much effort!
An active and healthy lifestyle will add more years to your life and these odds will significantly increase by reducing your risk of early death. A study published by the British Medical Journal has suggested that biking to work can potentially reduce your chance of getting cancer by as much as 45% while reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by as much as 46%. Isn’t that amazing?
3. It improves your mental health
An active yet breezy commute using your bike on your way to work will enhance your mood. Fresh air has the ability to clear your mind. Aside from this, there are other mental health benefits that come from regular physical activity.
For instance, daily moderate-to-intense physical activity lowers your risk of depression. Some studies have even suggested that physical activity helps manage and treat depression. In addition, daily exercise helps in the prevention of cognitive decline by sharpening learning and memory. Riding your bike to work is an excellent way to keep your mind sharp as you add on to your years.
Cycling also increases your happiness level while decreasing anxiety and stress. This applies to any exercise where you need to expend a good amount of effort. When you ride your bike, it helps release pent-up stress or tension that will consequently lead to improved sleep and lower levels of depression. You will also feel more confident about yourself.
4. It’s environmentally friendly
Switching your mode of transport from a car to a bike for your daily commute will have a great effect on your carbon footprint. Consider this. If the distance between your residence and workplace is 12 kilometers and you ride your bike that same distance each day for a year, you would save a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. You will even get more from the environment by riding your bike.
According to some studies, closed windows when driving can still expose you to breathe volatile organic and harmful air compounds inside your car than when you ride a bike. This becomes especially true when you get stuck in traffic you sit right behind the tailpipe of another car.
5. It’s fun!
Knowing that you would be easier for you to go through traffic on your way to work will make you feel happier. Most people don’t consider sitting in traffic, driving through a congested town, or riding in crowded public transit as activities that make them happy or calm them down.
Maybe they have accepted the fact that this is part of their life. But cycling to work can make things different as it will transform your stressful commute into a type of therapy.
Many studies have suggested that daily exercise alleviates the symptoms of depression, reduces stress, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety. Moreover, if you exercise outdoors, which you will do when riding a bike, this will improve your mood and boost your self-confidence.
Many people who ride bikes to work consider it fun. While riding, the experience wistfully brings about childhood memories of riding around the neighborhood and wishing you could still be as carefree as you were before amid the stresses of life.
You can integrate these feelings when you ride your bike into your daily routine. Next time, when you ride the bike to work, observe your surroundings, listen to the sounds of nature, and wave at other cyclists who are on their bikes too. Keep this up and you might want your workplace to be a little bit farther.
While cycling offers a lot of benefits, it isn’t perfect. For instance, during the summer, it would be very different when you ride your bike. There is also the possibility of a sudden downpour even during sunny days. When the winter season comes, it is sometimes very cold. Of course, you can prepare for these issues. You can bring an umbrella or put on some extra clothes while riding. Then you can focus on how cycling benefits you. The advantages outweigh the cons so you should really consider it. Make cycling a part of your life and see the difference it makes!