The vast majority of people in the United States live sedentary lives. We wake up in the morning, have our breakfast, and drive to work where we spend long hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. After work, we return home, turn on the TV, and spend the night sitting on the couch before going to sleep and starting the same routine the next day. Even if you have made it a priority to get into better shape this year, thousands of people simply find that the stress and anxiety from work often ruins those resolutions.
A 2018 Finder.com survey found that 6.3 percent of Americans surveyed spent an estimated $1.8 billion on gym memberships that were never used. Another 5.8 percent of those polled said that they only used their memberships once a month with an additional 5.4 percent getting to the gym less than once a month. For those of us who struggle to find the time to meet our exercise goals, might there be an alternative to an hour at the gym on the weekends?
Bicycling is not only a popular exercise activity, but can also be an alternative transportation method. According to Statista, “in 2016, around 12.4 percent of Americans cycled on a regular basis. The number of cyclists/bike riders in the U.S. has increased over the past three years from around 43 million to 47.5 million in 2017.” There are dozens of different benefits of cycling to work, including both economic, physical, and environmental paybacks. Below, we take a quick look at some of the cycling to work benefits, and then explain how companies can stimulate and encourage this practice amongst their workforce.
What Are Some Benefits Of Riding to Work?
Instead of sitting in that deplorable rush hour traffic every morning and evening, riding a bike to work might actually save you time. The U.S. Census Bureau states that the average commute time for American workers is 26.1 minutes, meaning that the average worker spends almost an hour every day getting to and from work.
Instead of essentially wasting that time in your car or on public transportation, an hour of cycling every day can help you get in the needed amount of exercise. Cycling is a low impact exercise with less stress on your joints. Depending on your cycling speed and the elevation change, you can expect to burn calories at a rate of 400-750 calories per hour. Thus, making a commitment to cycle to and from work every day can help you lose weight, stay in shape, and reduce your risk for some of the most common chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Another benefit of riding a bike to work is that you can save time and money. The investment in a decent bike will quickly pay itself off through lower expenses on gas or public transportation. Cycling to work can also reduce your carbon footprint and allow you to contribute to better air quality in your city or town.
How Can You Stimulate And Encourage Cycling to Work In Your Team?
A recent survey in the UK found that 91 percent of cyclists rated off-road cycling as fairly or very important for their mental health. As most business owners know, happier and more relaxed workers are generally more productive and contribute to an improved workplace culture. However, not every employee will have the motivation or the means to take up cycling to work.
Businesses can encourage the practice of bicycle commuting by purchasing bikes for use by their employees. These company-owned bikes can be lent out via ride-share programs. Or, if you don’t want to purchase your own bicycles, consider asking your local city to set up a bike share station near your workplace.
Your company can also organize social rides for your employees, such as taking a group bike ride to a shared lunchtime at a nearby café or restaurant. You might even consider creating an incentive program that gives economic prizes or other benefits to employees who ride a certain amount of miles each week or month.
Get Your Team Cycling With Work-Fit
Work-Fit leads the pack in onsite injury prevention and management for your workforce. Our wellness management program can further help your company develop strategies and programs to help motivate your employees to adopt healthy lifestyles, including the practice of cycling to work. Contact Work-Fit today to learn how we can help your company incorporate a cycling to work program.