Every extra minute you spend commuting reduces your job satisfaction, increases strain and reduces mental health, says researchers from the University of the West of England, but one of the things that can make a difference is how you commute. Unlike driving or using public transport, cycling to work is associated with better health. Job satisfaction can even be improved by cycling or walking to work.
That makes total sense to us. Riding to work is far more enjoyable generally, than being stuck in a car or crammed up against strangers on public transport, but the benefits don’t end there. We looked at some of the evidence.
Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2017 shows cycling to work is better for your health. Cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all. The average commute distance of the cyclists studied was a fairly modest 30 miles per week – just 3 miles each way every working day.
One of the most stressful factors when getting to work is worrying that you will be late. Research in this area has shown that the more control over your commute you have, the less stressful it becomes. One of the joys of cycling is that you are not at the mercy of a train timetable, nor are you likely to get stuck in a traffic jam. Except for some minor variations, because of weather and your own energy levels, the time your journey to work takes remains the same day to day. The predictability of knowing how long your journey will take makes it less of a stressful experience.
Cycling makes a clear distinction between ‘work’ and ‘home’. On your bike you can’t take a business call or flick open your lap top to send a quick email the way you can on the train. It provides a valuable period of decompression between the demands of the office and arriving home, providing the chance to shed the annoyances of the work day. From this perspective your short commute is actually beneficial to your mental health – and most likely benefits the people you live with if you arrive home more relaxed! Those who have no commute report being more stressed than those who commute less than thirty minutes
Finally, research from the University of Minnesota looked at emotional states during different modes of daily travel and found that those who made their journeys by bicycle were the happiest and those made by public transport the least happy! Sounds like the best reason yet for getting on your bike.
Why do you commute by bike?
References: https://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1456 http://www.econ.jku.at/t3/staff/pruckner/stress.pdf https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965856417301842?via%3Dihub