Why Walking or Cycling Can Benefit More Than Your Health

We all know that exercise is incredibly beneficial to us, but do you know exactly how beneficial incorporating physical activity into your daily life can be? Beyond the health benefits, how can riding a bike or walking more regularly help to improve your local community and the wider environment?

Clearly it isn’t possible for all trips to be undertaken on foot or by bike, and for many of us the commute to work can be too far to even consider it. But don’t forget that even just 10 minutes of physical activity squeezed into a busy day can prove hugely beneficial!

Below we have highlighted just some of the key benefits associated with walking, running or cycling when you can.

Physical Health

As well as improving overall fitness levels regular walking significantly reduces your risk of a number of conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and coronary heart disease.

A recent study has found that regular cyclists have a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer. While walkers had a 36% lower risk of dying from heart disease.

On top of this, those that choose to travel actively to work take fewer sick days than those travelling by car, with less frequent and less severe reports of cold and flu symptoms.

Mental Health

Sitting in traffic can be stressful, especially if you have to travel during rush hour every day for work. The average one-way commute in the UK takes 54 minutes and a massive 18% of people who drive or use public transport said that their journey is making them miserable!

Walking, cycling or running are all relaxing ways to clear your mind and are a great way to get some time to yourself if you have a busy lifestyle. Finding time in your day to get to the gym can be difficult at times and we’re all guilty of the occasional excuse to avoid going. Choosing to travel actively often means that exercise is bite-sized and unavoidable, so doesn’t feel overwhelming like committing to a fitness programme can!

Interestingly, those that travel to work on foot or by bike usually report feeling more calm, relaxed, enthusiastic and satisfied with their commute, as well as being more productive on the job.

Save Money

Active travel is the cheapest form of travel available. There’s no paying for tickets, no fuel bill, no parking costs and no expensive tax or insurance! Choosing to walk or cycle rather than jumping in the car could end up saving you a load of money, particularly if you make the switch to an active commute. The following is the average cost of commuting over a 12-month period:

  • £0 to walk or run
  • £396 to commute by bike
  • £848 to travel by bus
  • £1,320 on train tickets
  • £3,727 to travel by car

If your employer has a cycle to work scheme the cost savings of cycling to work can start to look even more attractive. A cycle to work scheme allows you to save around 30% on the cost of a new bike, by making monthly payments from your salary before paying national insurance.

Check out our discounts and offers page to explore the great savings you could make on accessories for your active commute!

Save the Environment

There are also some really important environmental implications surrounding the way we travel, whether that’s to work, to the shops or even to visit friends.

Cars are one of the largest contributors to air pollution. Hopping on your bike or slipping on your comfy trainers can really help to improve the air quality in your local area.

You’ll also be helping to reduce noise pollution. Compared with a car engine, cycling, walking and running are all basically silent, which can make for a much nicer environment!

You might be worried about being exposed to more pollution as a cyclist or pedestrian than as a driver but that’s actually not the case at all!
Researchers found that passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhaled substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians. It’s thought to be because cyclists ride at the edge of the road and, unlike drivers, aren’t directly in the line of exhaust smoke and therefore, breathe in fewer fumes!