Cycling to work makes you less stressed

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Ordinarily I cycle to work.  Last Friday though the forecast was looking pretty bad so I wimped out and got the bus.  I figured I was in no great rush and could spend the hour on the bus catching up on some reading.  The journey is around about 12km long, and as the advertised journey time is 40 minutes an hour was safely conservative.  By the time I finally made it home, 2 hours had passed.  Suffice to say, not a nice experience and one I'll be repeating anytime soon.

So the latest in a sadly busy line of well duh research concludes that cycling (and indeed walking) to work leads to a less stressful individual.  The research was conducted by Lund University in Sweden.

They declared "Generally car and public transport users suffered more everyday stress, poorer sleep quality, exhaustion and, on a seven point scale, felt that they struggled with their health compared to the active commuters."

Apparently if you travel by public transport your stress levels increase in line with your journey time.  If you drive however, your stress levels are highest for journeys under an hour, which kinda suggests most stress is caused by inner city congestion.

So despite having to encounter the joys of Old Kent road each day on my ride to/from work, this is without doubt a case of better the devil you know.  What is nice to see of course is the ever increasing number of two wheeled brethren on my daily commute.  Even as the weather is getting worse the number of cyclists on the road is pretty impressive.  Long may it continue.

6 thoughts on “Cycling to work makes you less stressed

  1. Ok, call me contrary but I don't think it has anything to do with the mode of transport per se, more the success of it. I think that if cars or public transport got you from A to B in the time you expected them to, you wouldn't be stressed. The stress comes from the congestion on our roads or the delays to your train. If you're cycling or walking then you pretty much know how long it'll take and can plan accordingly. The others don't really offer that certainty.

    • Hmm, that's a good point Nick. My cycle to work is pretty much the same duration every day so is quite predictable in that sense.

  2. I biked to work for years. And part of the stress relief for me was knowing I could get a work out in no matter what kind of crazy day was in front of me. And at the end of the day it gave me more work out time to decompress from the day. I do agree that there is more stress created by having a commute that becomes unreliable. But I think the stress release from moving under you own power is much more valuable than just getting there on time.

    • Quite right Leanne (and welcome to the blog). The stress busting benefits of exercise are far too well documented to summarise here, but suffice to say they are plentiful.

  3. Interestingly I was reading a book last night that used a case study from IBM whereby flexible working, ie working from home, saw employees put in 19 hours of productive work more per week. When you spend 2 hours on a bus home that really makes a lot of sense.

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