Bicycling is the primary mode of commuting in many European countries, but not so in the US, which could partially explain our nation’s health problems. Riding your bike to the office or biking to work in general is a simple way of improving a host of health issues, and has other major benefits for your life and the larger world as well.
Here are just ten of the many ways biking to work can improve your existence.
1. You Can Shed Pounds While You Pedal
Biking is a great way of losing weight. The calories you burn on a bike (between 400 and 1000 in an hour) can contribute to creating a caloric deficit, which is what you need to lose weight. By biking for half an hour to and from work, you could burn up to 1000 calories, all while performing a necessary function for your survival: getting to work.
2. Cycling Improves Your Lungs
If you’re breathing heavy on your ride to work, don’t worry. You’re actually improving your lung capacity, meaning your body will be better ad taking in and absorbing oxygen. If you live in a large city you might worry about exposing yourself to more pollutants by being outside the protective confines of your car. Not to worry, because:
3. Cycling Cuts Down on Environmental Emissions (And Your Intake Of Pollutants)
Riding your bike to work means one less car will be spewing out noxious fumes on the freeway. And although it might seem like a sealed-up car would protect you better from air pollution, studies have shown that drivers actually experience five times higher pollution levels than cyclists.
4. You Can Skip Traffic Jams
One of the worst things about commuting to or from a bustling business district is the risk (or certainty) of a traffic jam. It can take an hour or more to travel a few short miles from your home to your office, even if you live relatively nearby. But you can dodge gridlock by biking! You’ll get to bypass traffic jams at your pleasure. Bike commutes between three and five miles have been shown to take less time than driving on average.
5. Biking Is Good for Your Mental Health
Exercise of all kinds releases adrenaline and endorphins that give us feelings of euphoria and energy. On a long-term scale, this can improve your overall mental wellbeing. Biking has also been linked with a better ability to concentrate, so it’s good for your brain in multiple ways. Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!
6. You’ll Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer
By exercising your cardiovascular system, bicycling decreases your chance of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death for American. It’s also been shown to cut your risk of developing cancer significantly as well. That’s the second leading cause of death! Riding your bike to work can help you avoid the two most popular ways to die.
7. Cycling Is Far Cheaper Than Driving
The cost of insuring, maintaining, and refueling a car is nearly $10,000 a year – and that’s not counting the note if you’re still paying it off. Compare that to a bicycle, which costs on average $308 a year to maintain. The amount of money you save by riding your bike to work is enough to go on several vacations.
8. You Don’t Have to Worry About Parking
Finding a place to put your car (or affording to put it in a lot) is a major hassle. Luckily, bikes can be stored just about anywhere. Most major cities have bike racks installed in numerous locations, and many businesses will just let you bring them inside.
Biking to work improves so many aspects of your life, from your overall health to your finances. If you live within biking distance, pick a day and make sure you allot a little extra time (and maybe bring an extra shirt). You could be on the verge of a major positive lifestyle change.