Take a Morning Bike Ride to Work for Less Stress
New research suggests that commuting to work by bike can help lessen stress with beneficial effects that can last throughout the day. The study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that a morning bike ride can boost people’s moods and reduce their stress.
Stéphane Brutus, one of the study’s authors, a professor of motivation and employee performance at Concordia University in Canada, shares
“We were discussing amongst ourselves the good feeling we’d get every time we rode our bikes to work. Anecdotally, we felt like we were a step ahead, first thing in the morning, of the rest of our coworkers who insisted on taking cars or public transportation.”
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The Impact of a Morning Bike Ride
The study entitled “Cycling, car, or public transit: a study of stress and mood upon arrival at work” aimed to investigate the impact of various commuting modes on stress and mood upon arrival at work. In order to arrive at a conclusion, data on stress and mood were collected after 123 employees arrived at work by bike, car, or public transit. To account for the natural fluctuation of stress and mood throughout the day, the assessment of the dependent variables was made within the first 45 minutes of arrival at work.
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As hypothesized by the authors, the employees who cycled to work were less stressed than their counterparts who arrived by car. They note, however, that the study was unable to show a cause-and-effect relationship between biking and lower stress levels and that stress tends to be more consistent, day-to-day, than mood.
“People decide to drive to work or cycle to work for all different reasons, including their physical shape, how they perceive risks and how they perceive life. If you choose to drive a car, for example, you may be the type of person who gets stressed more easily and who can’t afford to bike to work because you need to get to work earlier.”
The authors aim to promote active commute modes noting the lower levels of early stress among cyclists.
“Our relationship with our cars is so ingrained that we don’t even question all the stress and frustration that owning them and driving them can cause. We want people to realize there might be a better way.”
Aside from cycling’s health and fitness benefits, dealing with lower levels of stress thanks to a morning bike ride can do a lot of good for one’s overall health.