It’s tough finding a work/life balance, but it becomes an entirely new juggling act when you add exercise to the mix. As much as we want to lead a healthier life and get fit, regular workouts tend to get left on the back-burner in favour of meeting deadlines or spending time with friends and loved ones. Fortunately, there is one way that you can get fit and still have time for everything you love; all it takes is one adjustment to your daily routine.
More and more people are choosing to cycle to work, particularly during the warmer months, either for environmental reasons or for health reasons. Whatever the reason you ultimately take up cycling, here are a few arguments to convince you that this is a good idea.
Earlier this year, many people were the victims of train strikes and with few alternative options for getting to work. You bike will never go on strike; at least, not if it’s well-maintained and you don’t get seriously injured. With the right equipment for bike maintenance, you can keep cycling all year. If you usually drive to work, cycling can free you from spending 10 to 15 minutes looking for a parking space and mentally calculating how long you have until you have to pay for another parking ticket. Finally, cycling has to be a lot more pleasant than suffering through a commute on public transport with hundreds of people cramming into a bus or train like sardines.
Believe it or not, even in the UK’s major cities, commuting by bike will get you to work in half the time it would take you to drive there. According to research done by Citroen, if you drive for an hour in Cardiff’s rush hour, you’ll spend over 30 minutes going absolutely nowhere and average just 7 mph, compared to averaging around 12-15 mph while cycling. Cyclists don’t get stuck in traffic jams and aren’t susceptible to the usual transit delays of driving or public transportation, making bike commuting as fast or faster than driving for most urban commutes. That’s before you even factor in the time you save looking for a parking space when you get to work. All you need to do is finding the nearest pole or bike parking rack, lock up your bicycle, and go about your day.
A 2008 study from the University of New South Wales concluded that if more people started riding their bikes to work in any given city, the number of collisions between between drivers and people riding bikes decreases in absolute terms in that city. This is because drivers adopt safer driving practices to accommodate for any extra cyclists and pedestrians on the streets. So even though you might like to get cycle insurance in case you do have an accident, you should feel safe in the knowledge that you’re contributing to increased road safety for everyone.
Whenever you’ve seen a cyclist commuting to work in the middle of winter, you must’ve thought they were mad. However, cycling to work is actually one of the warmest ways of getting to work in winter. Not only are you moving instead of standing on a cold platform waiting for a train, but wearing the right clothes can protect you from the elements while the blood pumping through your body will keep you warm. Don’t talk yourself out of it by saying that the clothes must be expensive; good quality waterproof and windproof cycling gear can be bought really cheaply, so you’re running out of excuses to not cycle year round. As an added bonus, you reduce the risk of catching a cold from a fellow commuter coughing and sneezing all over you.
Now to one of the more obvious reasons. Cycling is good for you; it improves cardiovascular and aerobic fitness, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, builds muscle, and improves coordination. Also, while you may not become Einstein, research has proven that moderate, daily exercise can prevent cognitive decline, sharpen memory and learning, and improve overall brain performance, so it’ll make you better at your job. Not to mention, regular exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to ﬁght off infection – goodbye annual winter colds!
Lack of fuel emissions aren’t the only way that bikes are better for the environment than other forms of travel. It takes around ﬁve percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike.
Are you convinced yet?