Everyone knows that bike commuting is a great form of exercise with some mental health benefits to boot, but now it looks like the benefits of cycling extend into the workplace: Research from Concordia University has shown that the first 45 minutes of your workday can be significantly less stressful if you opt to pedal to work rather than driving.
The researchers looked at the effect driving, public transportation, and cycling had on stress and mood at work for 123 employees at an information technology company based in Montreal. The study, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, clearly showed that cycling was the best for reducing morning stress. “Employees who cycled to work showed significantly lower levels of stress within the first 45 minutes of work than those who travelled by car,” Stéphane Brutus, the study’s lead author, says.
While similar studies have been done in the past—with similar results—this was the first to have participants take a survey within 45 minutes of arriving to the office, in order to get an “in-the-moment assessment of employees’ stress and mood.”
(Of course, cycling to work will also lower your mortality risk overall, according to another recent study. You’ll also improve your mood and boost your creativity while building muscle and burning off breakfast.)
We all know why mornings matter so much: A bad morning can wreck your whole day, so if you can improve your first few hours, think of the domino effect it might have on your overall mood, health and productivity. “Recent research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of their effect later in the day,” Brutus says. “They can shape how subsequent events are perceived, interpreted and acted upon for the rest of the day.”
Now that summer weather is finally here, you have yet another reason to start riding to work again!