We spoke to 2,000 working UK adults1, and asked them about their journeys in to the office every day - how they got there, and how they felt about their choice of transport. Half of those who cycled to work said they arrived feeling refreshed after the journey. By comparison, just 1 in 10 car and bus users could say the same thing – and the figures dropped to 1 in 20 for passengers on the train and tube.
Why does the wind in your hair work so well?
As well as being a way to increase the endorphins (the ‘happy’ chemicals) in your body, cycling gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing to your muscles … bringing everything to life.
Almost a quarter of the regular cyclists (24%) we spoke to said they felt more motivated after their typical commute, and over half (53%) our audience said that riding into work improved their overall mood. Walking was next best as a mood enhancer (38% of people noticed a lift in mood).
It’s not surprising then, perhaps, that those who cycled to work were also most likely to say they were generally happy with their fitness. 71% of the respondents in our survey said that was the case, beating habitual walkers (63%), train travellers (56%) and car drivers (54%). What’s more, those who said they didn’t have a real commute to work felt the least happy about their fitness levels (36%).
Pedal power for the people
We asked Aviva’s Medical Director, Dr. Doug Wright, for his thoughts on pedal power. “It’s quite clear, the way people get to work affects how they feel when they arrive. If you’re willing to jump on a bike and get to work under your own steam, you’ll probably boost your mood as well as your physical health.”
“What’s interesting,” he continued, “is that it looks as though people do want to cycle to work – but don’t necessarily act on that impulse.” In our survey, we discovered that many commuters wanted to take up cycling as the alternative way to getting to work each day. 11% of drivers, along with 9% of train and tube passengers, 7% of walkers and 6% of bus users admitted that in an ideal world they’d use a bike to get to work.
“Previous research we’ve done showed that people might not be commuting on two wheels for safety reasons, or simply due to the distance they had to travel. But if a business wants an easy way to improve the mood of its workforce, a cycling scheme is something it might want to explore. Offering a Bike to Work scheme, showers at the office or secure bike storage could help convert some drivers to cyclists and businesses could see a benefit from that.”
1Survey of 2000 working adults in the UK carried out by One Poll on behalf of Aviva, August 2015