Health benefits of cycle commuting – come rain or shine

Car commuting is bad for your mental health

Can you believe that some people put their bikes away for winter? It’s a form of hibernation all the more surprising because cycling has year-round health benefits  –  even on days when poor weather temnpts you to take the car or bus to work.

A 5-year study of over 250,000 British commuters found people who cycled to work were healthier and living longer than those who commuted by car.

The researchers set out to investigate the association between active commuting and cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes of death.

Results showed commuting undertaken totally or partially by bicycle was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. Commuting on foot was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, cycle commuters showed the lowest incidence of these as well as lower risks of all-cause mortality and cancer.

They concluded that initiatives to encourage and support active commuting could reduce risk of death and the burden of important chronic conditions.

Mental health benefits of cycling

You don’t have to spend too long in the saddle before you feel better about the day ahead. And there’s science to prove it.

A study by Norwich medical school of over 17,000 commuters and 18 years of data found that car commuters were at least 13 per cent more likely to feel ‘constantly under strain or unable to concentrate’ than those who cycled or walked to work. The longer drivers spent on their daily commute, the worse their psychological wellbeing.

The findings appear to reinforce previous research suggesting that workers who cycle to work have fewer sick days.

When commuting by car was compared to public transport, a way of travelling to work that is often described as beset by overcrowding and delays, the researchers found that those using buses and trains benefited from better levels of wellbeing.

The researchers believe that stress caused by delays and cancellations are offset by the face that bus and rail commuters also get time to relax, road or socialise, and even the walk – or run – to the station, and this is thought to cheer them up.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover  and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.


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