What if you could increase your chances of living a long and healthy life just by changing the way you get to work? A new study has revealed that if you trade in your commute in the car or bus for one on your bicycle, you could add years to your life! And unlike squeezing in a visit to the gym, commuting is something you have to do, so why not make the most of it?
The study, published earlier this year by the University of Glasgow, found that an active commute can be linked to longer life. In particular, cycling to work can decrease your chance of getting cancer and heart disease by 45 percent! While walking to work was linked with lower cardiovascular disease risk, it was cycling that packed in longer miles and a greater challenge for the heart, producing more dramatic results for longevity.
The rewards of an active commute are plentiful. In addition to contributing to improving public health, you will also be contributing to decongesting traffic and reducing air pollution. Without commuter mileage on your car, you will save money on gas and repairs for your vehicle. Some people even reported getting to work faster when they rode their bikes. Not to mention the improved focus and productivity that results from a healthy mind and body. Oh and one last plug for commuting by bike: it's fun!
With the way workplace culture has changed today, many companies are incentivizing active commuting. Here at Backroads, we employ a "Pedaling for Peanuts" reward system in which employees log their mileage and get paid out at the end of the year, with a raffle to win bigger prizes. I've also heard of yoga studios offering free mat rentals with display of your helmet. In the Bay Area, public transit has decreased their regulations about bikes in crowded trains in an effort to encourage commuters to opt out of driving.
Unsure of how to get started? It's easier than you think. Check out Google Maps and use the "bike directions" feature to see the recommended biking route to your work - you may be surprised with how many great designated bike lanes and trails will turn your monotonous car commute into a beautiful ride! And come join us on a quick weekend Backroads trip to refresh your biking skills and get comfortable before you begin your new and healthier life as a bicycle commuter!
So let's follow the ways of the Europeans and make bicycle commuting the new norm. Not only for the exercise and cardio benefits, but for mental health, environmental health and fun in the fresh air. This also seems like a great way to train for your next Backroads trip! Be inspired by National Bike Month and Bike to Work Day, and start now!