As we emerge from the pandemic, Americans are going back to work. But after more than a year of working-from-home, many companies are planning to allow employees to spend some time at home and some time in the office. These hybrid work models may lead to a shortened work week, leading some experts to predict Tuesday-Thursday traffic conditions becoming a nightmare.
Here are 7 reasons why you might consider switching things up on your commute as you return to work.
- Improve physical health. It makes sense that your physical health will improve the more you ride. But some results bike commuters get are truly amazing. The average person loses ~15 pounds in their first year of bike commuting. Additionally, bike commuters enjoy better cardiovascular health, lowered cholesterol levels, and prevented high blood pressure — even commuters who started their routine during middle age saw this benefit.
- Lower health care costs. A 2017 study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation estimates that millions of dollars in medical costs were saved because bike commuters experienced less chronic illness and experienced less preventable deaths. This has implications for employers and employees alike, as rising health care costs impact us all.
- Save our planet. You probably already know that choosing to ride a bike over driving a car each day reduces your carbon footprint. But commuting by bike also leads to less noise pollution, which can impact not only human health but also the health and wellbeing of wildlife.
- Find more joy. Humans are wired for excitement and adventure, and the thrill of the ride connects us with the part of ourselves that impulsively smiles during fast descents and feels immense pride when tackling a challenging hill.
- Power up your mindset. When you choose to commute by bicycle, you automatically start your day proactively. First, you have to be prepared for your ride. Next, you have to be prepared for your day of work. GoodTurn Cycles community engagement coordinator, Christina, appreciates how her morning bike commute asks her to think ahead about her day in a way driving her car does not. And, she loves the reset she gets on the ride home. “Once I get off work, I work off the stress of the day by challenging myself to see how fast I can make it back home,” she said.
- Better sleep. Many of us got more sleep during the pandemic. But Swiss researchers found that the quality of sleep during this time actually went down. So what helps boost sleep quality? Physical activity, especially outdoors, is linked with improved sleep. The natural daylight helps balance sleep-wake hormones like cortisol and melatonin.
- Reconnect with yourself. Many of us found it hard to find quality “me” time during the pandemic. A car commute in traffic can certainly count as alone time, but why not let your “me” time be more about exercise and the great outdoors? There’s a monotony to cycling that allows our brains to enter more mindful states, where we can begin to watch our thoughts and allow them to float along, like the clouds we see along the path.
Choosing to commute by bike requires a little more effort in your day than riding in your car. But for many, like Kyle, it’s worth it. And, if you’re looking to upgrade your commute with an eBike, here’s exactly what you need to know.