Those Who Bike to Work 40% Less Likely to Feel Stressed
New research from the University of Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab shows that people who bike to work daily are much less likely to feel stressed. 40% less likely, to be exact.
The study assessed the breathing patterns of 10,000 commuters during their journeys to and from work via the Spire Inc wearable device. It was discovered that those who drove a car or took public transport experienced more rapid breathing patterns on their commute – a clear indicator of stress. It was found that those who cycled to work showed much fewer occurrences of these breathing patterns, suggesting cyclists are keeping their cool.
The new (but not surprising) findings tie in nicely with the results of a ten year study conducted by the University of East Anglia and University of York. These indicated that cycling makes employees less stressed on the way to work and more productive during the day. Neema Maravejir, co-founder of the Calming Tech Lab and Spire Inc, said that cycling also helps many people transition from the working day into their home lives much easier. (Something which, as we all know, can be very tricky to do.)
Overall, cycling was found to have very positive psychological and emotional benefits for commuters, and put them in a calmer state of mind both before and after work.
Why is cycling so relaxing? Well, we can think of a few reasons.
1. It’s meditative.
The rhythmic motion of pedaling gives the rider something to concentrate on as they ride, often having a soothing, calming effect.
2. It puts you amongst nature.
Okay, so you might not class the urban jungle as ‘nature’. But when you ride to work, you’re getting plenty of fresh air, which is more than you’d get if you were on a train or using the underground.
3. It allows the body to cope with stress.
As well as being a relatively non-stressful activity in itself, cycling can also help to reduce the stress you may already be carrying around. Our bodies were designed to get moving when the going gets tough, so regular exercise enables us to cope with stress in a way our bodies were meant to and keep that blood pressure from getting too high.
4. It’s a confidence booster.
Maybe you’ll start to lose weight. Maybe you’ll notice you can cycle longer distance without getting out of breath. Or maybe you’ll just start to get faster at pushing those pedals.
Whatever it is, you will start to notice a positive change in your body in some way, and this can be a massive confidence booster and mood lifter.
5. It keeps you stimulated.
Instead of taking the same bus, train or drive to work every day, cycling enables you to change up your route as often as you like, keeping your surroundings fresh and interesting. Not only does this stimulate the brain and get you excited about your morning commute, but it can also help boost creativity and mental flexibility.