The number of bicycle commuters increased by over 60% in the first decade of the 21st Century. Young professionals are discovering the addictive pull of starting and ending the workday with the stress-reducing freedom an invigorating bike ride brings. Biking can be a great way to indulge your inner child while keeping the adult you fit and trim.
Biking helps to clear your head as you prepare to immerse yourself in your daily work routine. The benefits both mentally and physically are many. Especially in urban environments, large businesses are encouraging daily exercise and wellness programs to boost a positive, energetic atmosphere in the workplace.
As the demand increases, more towns and cities are creating bike-friendly routes and even publicly-owned bicycles to encourage fitness enthusiasts and reduce the emissions of so many cars on the road.
So how can biking to work benefit your career? Here are five top reasons to consider a more active work commute.
1) Increased Productivity
Biking is a wonderful aerobic activity that has been shown to increase cognitive skills on a variety of levels. Increasing the blood flow to your brain encourages healthy cell development and increases neurotransmitter activity. In other words, daily exercise such as biking just plain helps you think better.
Daily biking can help sharpen memory and learning skills. This doesn’t just apply to young adults. Studies have shown the brains of older adults, in their 50s and up, appear younger and function more effectively with just 30 minutes of biking at least three times each week. Biking can help individuals of any age develop that mental acumen needed to continue to excel in the workplace.
Cycling also increases the brain’s ability to repair itself. The routine workout stimulates the growth of extra nerve cells needed for the production of important cell-building proteins. And besides building up the well know gray-matter of the brain, cycling also increases white matter, where communication takes place between the brain and different parts of the body. This results in increased dexterity and faster reflexes for those whose work may be more physically demanding.
Cyclists have also been shown to have a greater feeling of self-sufficiency. After taking control of their personal health and well-being, there seems to be a greater tendency to explore creative options and dig deeper for bolder expression of new ideas in the workplace.
Staying sharp at work is a prerequisite to advancing your career. Regular exercise can give you a competitive edge for the future that will continue to increase as you maintain a healthy lifestyle over time. Meeting deadlines, preparing reports, and keeping ahead of quotas can become easier with increased mental acuity. Daily biking or eBiking can be a major part of excelling in your field and keeping ahead of the pack.
2) A Stronger Immune System
Employers appreciate employees who rarely need to take a day off for illness. Biking lessens the effects of aging and rejuvenates the immune system by stimulating the production of disease-fighting T-cells.
This means more alert, productive workdays and higher resistance to sickness during the cold and flu season. And in the long run, your body will have greater resources to fight more serious illnesses. Being physically fit can also increase your ability to deal with emotional events from which none of us are immune. It may increase your ability to maintain effective personal dynamics with others in the workplace.
Regular exercise is one of the best preventative medicines you can give your body. Studies have shown that regular exercise such as cycling can cut the risk of a host of diseases and chronic illnesses by over 40%. This includes the risk of many cancers and heart disease. Cyclists need to see a doctor less often and have fewer problems with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
Staying healthy reduces health care costs for both yourself and your employer. And cyclists are often more content at work. Staying in a good mood affects not only your own performance but helps to create a more enjoyable work environment for those working around you. Saving money and being happier with your work performance is certainly a win-win for the entire workplace.
Cycling increases the muscles’ ability to use oxygen and build new tissue, and that keeps the body elastic and makes simple movement easier. This increased dexterity is helpful in jobs requiring physical activities such as walking, standing for long periods, and small motor skills. Overall, biking can help keep you moving well into your senior years, increasing your quality of life and the success of your career.
In today’s marketplace, sedentary jobs requiring more technical computer skills and less physical activity are on the rise. The result is increased medical issues resulting from inactive lifestyles. By beginning a routine of biking to work even a few days a week, you can start to reverse these effects for more consistent work results that may be noticed by both co-workers and supervisors. But the most important thing is that you feel better and stay stronger for daily tasks.
3) Increased Energy Levels
As with any exercise routine, biking to work helps fight obesity and alleviates sluggishness. Cycling builds energy reserves so that you can persevere through the challenges of your workday. So you will be able to maintain concentration without depending on caffeinated drinks to keep you going.
Regular biking boosts stamina and increases endurance. Higher energy levels will make you the “energizer bunny” of your workplace. Staying fit helps keep enthusiasm levels higher and opens the door for a more active lifestyle both on and off the job.
A healthy diet plus the physical activity of biking can keep you from experiencing that afternoon slump when sweet, high-calorie, low-nutrient snacks become a temptation. Studies show that cyclists are able to stay vitalized and focused longer. Ongoing research also indicates that beginning a regular biking habit can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic fatigue that are on the rise among young adults in sedentary jobs.
Of course, biking requires the expending of energy through metabolizing calories, helping your body to get the most out of what you feed it. So riding to work will help you to be in better shape as you build lean muscle mass and burn away unwanted fat reserves. Seeing a fitter you in the mirror will help build confidence in the workplace as well.
4) More Satisfying Sleep Routine
Trying to work when you’re exhausted rarely has a productive ending. But maintaining a consistent sleep routine can be difficult, especially as you grow older. Sleep issues may also be exacerbated by a demanding work environment. You may become emotionally invested in the daily outcome of work requirements. Your mind and body may become stressed and it’s more difficult to let go of daily issues and just relax.
Studies indicate that moderate-intensity exercise such as biking can help improve the quality and duration of sleep for those suffering from chronic sleep disorders. Regular exercise can help you relax and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep while encouraging longer, more productive sleep patterns.
Even a very small decline in overall fitness may have a detrimental effect on the body’s ability to rest as it should. The decline may be the result of poor diet and a sedentary work environment and lifestyle. By biking to work and home again, much of the day’s stress and anxiety can be relieved and excess calories burned away, enabling you to mentally prepare for rest.
Biking may also be able to help reset your body’s time clock so that you can fall asleep when you need to and wake up refreshed. Exercise has a positive effect on brain serotonin levels so you can feel calm and relaxed at bedtime. Of course, timing is important. Biking to and from work generally allows plenty of time for your body to recover from its active state and unwind into a more tranquil one.
Biking can also help prevent excess weight gain as you grow older. Obesity has been identified as a major risk factor in the ever-increasing diagnoses of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Turning stored fat into lean muscle and improving blood circulation can help your body function with far less stress. Staying fit over time is a worthwhile goal for anyone looking forward to a long, productive career.
5) General Fitness
Individuals who participate in regular exercise such as biking to work can begin to develop a stable core of well-being. They tend to depend less on external things for happiness and personal fulfillment. They can recover and rebound more quickly and easily after negative events and don’t require continuous positive reinforcement to perform at their best.
Biking is recommended by fitness professionals as an excellent cardio workout that is gentle on aging joints. It is a fairly low-impact workout that will not over-stress hips, knees, ankles, or back in the same way jogging might. Most people learn to ride a bike at a young age, and it is not a skill soon forgotten. So the childhood memories of zipping along on your bike can be recaptured for day to day fitness and pleasure.
Cycling can be as intense as you desire it to be. Many studies recommend you don’t overdo it. If you like to push the limits, try adding a more intense cycling activity on the weekend or other off-time. Your commitment to biking can still be maintained as an indoor workout during inclement weather or the winter season, as well as being a wonderful source of enjoyment outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Biking to and from work will help keep you fit for the long haul. It can help improve strength, balance, and coordination and even encourages better posture. As an aerobic exercise, it can help prevent falls and fractures and reduce anxiety. These effects are due not only to the exercise benefits but also stem from enjoying the freedom of riding itself.
Incorporating biking to and from work into your workweek supplies you with needed exercise without gym costs and saves money used on other types of transport. As awareness grows, many workplaces are encouraging workplace fitness as a means of increasing positive attitudes and productivity.
There are many ways to improve the overall health of individuals in the workplace. Biking is one of the ways that benefit both the indoor and outdoor environment while keeping performance and confidence levels high.
Cyclists are often both more self-aware and more in tune with nature and others as they may come in contact with more individuals during their daily commute. This awareness can be carried into their performance in the workplace in many positive ways.
Cycling is a much more efficient and beneficial use of time than the sedentary activity of sitting in your car in traffic. And research indicates that the overall air quality is much healthier in the open air than when sitting in a closed car for extended periods. As more workers are encouraged to bike to work, the end result may be a positive impact on air quality for everyone.
Another factor to consider is the impact of cycling on your budget. If you buy your own bike rather than using a public bike system, you’ll find that after an initial investment of a few hundred dollars, cycling costs very little to maintain. Since use and maintenance estimates are in the thousands of dollars every year for car commuters, that’s a big boon. It may enable you to enjoy your off-time a bit more extravagantly or plan a more indulgent vacation for yourself and your family.
Biking can be alternated with public transportation, especially when you are just getting started. If you decide to try biking a few days a week to work, don’t forget to observe safety rules for bikers in your area. It’s a good idea to invest in a helmet and knows the route you will be using well. With a bit of mindfulness, you can begin to enjoy new-found confidence and a sense of well-being both in and out of the workplace.