Top ten reasons you should get on your bike

Leave the car and breathe less pollution, improve your memory and save time

1. Save time1,2Group 2

Research shows that commuting by bike takes approximately half the time of driving at rush hour plus you'll be more productive at work - employees who exercise before work or at lunchtime improve their time and workload management, and it boosts their motivation and ability to deal with stress.

2. Increase your brain power3

Researchers found that a 5% improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15% in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30

3. Make creative breakthroughs4

Just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the flow of oxygen to your grey matter when it matters most, sparking your neurons and giving you breathing space away from the muddle and pressures of ‘real life’

4. Improve your mood5 and reduce stress6

Cycling helps to prepare you for the day ahead or recover from the one you’ve just had

5. Beat illness and boost your immune system7,8

And avoid cancer with as little as 45 minutes cycling three times a week. People who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take less sick days than those that don’t 9,10

6. Avoid pollution11,12

You’d think a cyclist would suck up much more pollution than the drivers and passengers in the vehicles chucking out the noxious gases. Not so, researchers found that passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhaled substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians. It’s thought that cyclists breathe in fewer fumes because we ride at the edge of the road and, unlike drivers, aren’t directly in the line of exhaust smoke.

Jonathon - bike

7. Lose the pounds13

Each hour in the car is associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of being obese, whilst people that cycle are the least likely to be overweight.

8. Sleep better14

Exercising outside exposes you to daylight, which helps get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep

9. Look younger15

Increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while flushing harmful toxins out. Exercise also creates an ideal environment within the body to optimise collagen production, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speed up the healing process

10. Live longer16

Cycling regularly to work has been shown to be the most effective thing an individual can do to improve health and increase longevity, and this applies even to people who are already active in sport and other physical activities 

References

  1. Citroen (2006). Press Release.
  2. Grous, A. (2011). The British Cycling Economy’. Report. London School of Economics.
  3. Kirk I. Erickson et al,  (2011), Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory, PNAS, 108(7) 3017–3022.
  4. Steinberg et al (1997), Exercise enhances creativity independently of mood. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 31(3): 240–245.
  5. Hoffman MD & Hoffman DR. (2008), Exercisers achieve greater acute exercise-induced mood enhancement than nonexercisers. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 89(2):358-63.
  6. Froböse I. Cycling and Health: Healthy cycling compendium. Centre for Health German Sport, University, Cologne/Wellcom. ww.cyclingandhealth.com/CyclingAndHealth_e.htm
  7. Gleeson M & Walsh NP. (2012). The BASES expert statement on exercise, immunity, and infection. British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Journal of Sports Science. 30(3):321-4.
  8. Cherkas L et al. (2008). The association between physical activity in leisure time and leukocyte telomere length. Archives of Internal Medicine. 28;168(2):154-8.
  9. Hendriksen et al. (2010). The association between commuter cycling and sickness absence. Preventive Medicine; v5:132–135.
  10. Nieman et al. (2010). Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults, British Journal of Sports Medicine.
  11. van Wijnen, J. Verhoeff, A., Jans, H. and van Bruggen, M. (1995). The exposure of cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians to traffic-related air pollutants, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 67(3), pp. 187-193.
  12. Institute for European Environmental Policy/Environmental Transport Association (1997). Road user exposure to air pollution: Literature review, Weybridge: Environmental Transport Association.
  13. Wen, L., M., and Rissel, M. (2008). Inverse associations between cycling to work, public transport, and overweight and obesity: Findings from a population based study in Australia. Preventive Medicine; v46; pp:29–32.
  14. Mischler et al. (2003). Prolonged daytime exercise repeated over 4 days increases sleeping heart rate and metabolic rate. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. 28(4):616-29.
  15. Franzoni et al. (2004). Plasma antioxidant activity and cutaneous microvascular endothelial function in athletes and sedentary controls. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy, 58(8):432-6.
  16. Andersen et al. (2000). All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. Archives of Internal Medicine. 160(11):1621-8.

 

Share this page: