Cycling to work is life-changing. I can see all the converts nodding away as they read this. Smug in the knowledge that by cycling to work we not only reap mental and physical benefits of cycling but we also manage to break the monotony of the daily commute. Those still on the fence about the benefits of a cycle commute should read on. We are about to open your eyes to the abundance of ways that cycling to work will quite literally change your life. We promise.
1. You’ll get a little extra time in bed
I bet we have your attention now! But it’s true. The great thing about cycling is how predictable your commute time is. You don’t need to allow time for train or bus delays or traffic jams. If your cycle takes 30 minutes, the only thing that will happen is that your commute time gets shorter as you start to get fitter.
2. And you’ll sleep more deeply
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day. The result? The time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour.
3. It is a very time efficient way of exercising
Do you find it hard to squeeze in exercise every day? Swapping the bus for the bike gives you the time you need for exercise without impacting the rest of your life at all. If your commute is 30-minutes by bike, you will clock an hour of exercise every day without even thinking about it.
4. You’ll look younger
I can hear you all protesting that we are now definitely having you on! But we’re not! Increased circulation when exercising delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells more effectively. It also flushes out harmful toxins. Just remember to lash on the old SPF, even if it’s grey outside!
5. You’ll burn calories at your desk
CYcling doesn’t just burn fat, it builds muscle too. People with a higher percentage of muscle have a higher basal metabolic rate, or BMR, which means they will burn more calories, even than resting than those with less muscle mass.
6. Your lungs will thank you for it
A study by the Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London, and Camden Council in the UK fitted pollution detectors to a driver, a bus user, a pedestrian and a cyclist using a busy route through central London. The results showed that the driver experienced five times more pollution than the cyclist, as well as three and a half times more than the walker and two and a half times more than the bus user.
7. It’ll give your sex life a boost (providing you have a willing partner!)
A study conducted by Cornell University found that male athletes have the sexual prowess of men two to five years younger. It also found that athletic females delayed the menopause by a similar amount of time. Another study conducted by Harvard University showed that men over 50 who cycle for at least three hours per week have a 30% lower risk of impotence than they non-exercising counterparts.
Cycling also builds up some rather essential muscle groups. According to Dr Matthew Forsyth, urologist and keen cyclist from Portland, Oregon, cycling works on the exact same muscles as those used during intercourse!
8. You’ll perform better in work
Your cycle to work will ensure that you are wide awake by the time you hit your desk in the morning. You will no longer spend the first hour of your day downing coffee in a bid to prise your eyelids open. A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress.
Exercise has also been proven to improve brain health. A 2013 study by the NCBI concluded that cyclists’ blood flow in the brain rose by 28% when riding at a moderate intensity and rose up to 70% in specific areas with the blood flow remaining higher than normal even after exercise.
9. Say goodbye to colds and flu
Sport and exercise science expert, Professor Tim Noakes, from the University of Cape Town explains in his book, Lore of Running, that moderate exercise can help to boost the immune system. When we exercise we release a protein called endogenous pyrogen, which increases the body’s temperature, making it more hostile to invading bugs. We also produce more interferon, a protein that is active against viruses and increases the activity of our white blood cells.
10. It’s good for the mind
One of our favourite things about cycling to work is the time it gives us to re-centre. Even on the worst work days, we find ourselves far calmer by the time we get home. The links between exercise and mental health are widely recognised with a host of studies across the globe proving the theory.
One such study was conducted by University of Bonn neurologists. The looked at the endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour cardio session using a technique called positive emission tomography (PET). The post-run scans showed evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain — areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress.
11. You’ll be doing your bit for the planet
Cycling cuts congestion. A whopping eight bikes can be parked in the space of just one car. It also takes around 5% of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike. And let’s not forget that these human-powered beauties produce ZERO pollution.
12. And if all of that’s not reason enough, you’ll save money too
Cycling is great for the bank balance. Once you have your precious steed, your daily commute will cost you nothing. Just think about how much you pop on your Leap Card every week. Now calculate the monthly cost. And then the yearly cost. You could buy a new bike with that kind of cash!!!
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