Regular cycling is good for the health of those who do it – one of the main reasons to encourage employees to participate in cycle-to-work schemes.
Bristol-based Sustrans is a UK sustainable transport charity. It says: “Cycling, along with walking, to work provides employees with an opportunity to schedule physical activity conveniently into their daily routine. Cycling is one of the easiest, accessible and cost-effective ways of achieving the daily recommended 30 minutes of physical activity to benefit an individual’s health.”
Sustrans adds that: “As well as being more productive, active employees take fewer sick days.” Further information on health and other benefits of cycling to work are available in the Active Travel section of the Sustrans website.
The charity told Personnel Today that “much research suggests that employers can benefit from introducing exercise programmes within the workplace. There is evidence from three international studies demonstrating that workplace health promotion programmes of at least 12 months’ duration can lead to an increase in physical activity among staff and a reduction in absenteeism of at least one-third.”
Private healthcare provider Bupa has also provided an information guide to the health benefits of cycling to work. This provides referenced information on the various health benefits that regular cycling can provide including how it can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
Cycling England also publishes evidence of the health benefits of cycling.
The pressure group points to many health and fitness pluses which cycling provides. These include:
- Reducing the risk of a range of health problems, notably heart disease and cancer, the leading preventable causes of premature death.
- One study found that people who cycle to work experienced a 39% lower rate of all-cause mortality compared to those who did not – even after adjustment for other risk factors, including leisure-time physical activity.
- Cycling for an additional 30 minutes on most days of the week, combined with reducing calorie intake, can achieve weight loss comparable to that achieved by doing three aerobic classes a week.
- As well as improving physical health, cycling has a positive affect on emotional health, improving levels of wellbeing, self-confidence and tolerance to stress.