Finding the right way to commute can be complicated when there are multiple options for transportation. In the cities, there’s the opportunity to take mass transit or commuting via car, both of which can be costly for workers. Commuters traveling via car in California spend on average an additional $12,000 annually on commuting expenses, and in general, commuting to work in your car can create agitation and stress even before the start of work.
For those opting for mass transit, it doesn’t get much better. Rising fares and delays, as seen with New York City’s MTA service, plague riders daily. In 2017, $307 million in lost work was accumulated over a 12-month span.
The introduction of bicycle rental services like Citi Bike or electric scooters in cities around the world have encouraged workers of an alternative way to get to work, one that is both healthier for worker and the environment, and according to a new study, biking to work might even lower your chances of dying sooner.
A joint study conducted by researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, the University of Melbourne and the University of Auckland found that people who cycle to work have a lower risk of dying due to the health benefits of physical activity. The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said that workers who opt to peddle to work had a 13% reduction in mortality, which was a significant reduction since those who walked or took public transportation options had no difference in mortality rates.
Using data compiled from the New Zealand Census-Mortality Study, researchers used that as a setting stone to look at studies of the population for three to five years following three censuses in 1996, 2001, and 2006. Respondents were asked about their method of travel to work on each census day, specifically for the greatest distance. Lead researcher Dr. Caroline Shaw from the University of Otago, Wellington said the study analyzed 3.5 million New Zealanders and found that 80% of people in New Zealand commuted via car on the census day, while only 8% opted for physical activity methods like walking (5%) and cycling (3%).
Despite being the minority, researchers found that cyclists had a 13% reduction in early death rates compared to other workers who decided to drive to work by preventing diseases and providing environmental benefits.
“Walking to work has physical-activity-related health benefits other than mortality reduction — including the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes — and taking public transport has the benefit of emitting less carbon,” Shaw said.
While cities in the United States are behind those in Europe (like the Netherlands) that have utilized paths for safer cycling, biking, in general, has been found to be extremely beneficial from past studies. A study done on British adults found that cyclists were 15% less to die from any cause. Additional research examining Danish men and women found that people who bike regularly lowered their risk of heart attack by at least 11%.
Cycling to work has other benefits aside from bettering your health. It’s been found to be a cheaper method of travel and can even increase your work production.
If you are looking for how to get started cycling for work check out these tips.