cycling to work at Thames Valley Park

It comes as no surprise that physical activity and exercise is good for you. The benefits of cycling to work are endless and go beyond the obvious physical advantages. Many are put off by the ‘risks’ involved with cycling. Studies have now shown that the risk of cycling is about the same as walking per mile travelled, the real danger to our health is inactivity. We’ve listed three reasons why you should get on your bike and cycle to work.

1.    Feel happier

Unlike physical health problems, mental health symptoms can often be easily overlooked. Countless studies have shown that partaking in regular physical activities help prevent or relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Cycling is a form of Aerobic exercise which stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as the ‘feel good hormones’, which help diminish the perception of pain.

Sitting 9 am – 5 pm in an artificially lit office without any real exposure to daylight can lead to depressing effects. Vitamin D from the sun has been shown to be effective against depression.  By cycling to and from work, it helps exposes you to sunlight. Which in turn regulates the circadian rhythm that helps rid your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep. Which will put you in a positive mind set not only for work but for your life.

2.    Live Longer

Cycling to work lowers the risk of dying early by 40 per cent and reduces the risk of getting cancer by 45 per cent. Studies have shown that cyclist preserves muscle mass and strength with age while maintaining stable levels of body fat and cholesterol. The immune system declines by about 2 -3% a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections and conditions such as arthritis.

As your immune system declines as you age, so does your thymus – the part of the body that produces white blood cells – begins to shrink. Studies have shown that older cyclists had white blood cells comparable to those of the younger control group – meaning that their immune system was acting “younger” and aid in slowing the ageing process down.

3.    Save the Planet

The cost of having a car is extortionate and public transport prices have only skyrocketed, with cycling the only cost is the bike itself. By cycling to work, you are not only saving yourself money, improving your fitness but you are also saving the planet.

Riding a bicycle is a great way to contribute to the preservation of our ecosystem and environment. Exhausts from motor vehicles damage the ozone in an irreparable way, whereas bike riding uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport. Bikes reduce the need to build, service and dispose of cars. If you were to cycle 10 km each way to work you would save 1500kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year.