Little changes in our routine can guide us to better health in the long run. One simple change is ditching the car for the bike seat and getting a little extra activity on the way to school or work. Strava, the social network for fitness enthusiasts, invites cyclists around the world to join the Global Bike to Work Day Challenge on May 10th to become a part of the largest bike to work day to date.
More than 100,000 people have already pledged online, and by participating you open the doors to not only helping yourself but also helping the environment with the benefits of cycling.
1. Live Healthier, Live Longer
For those looking to shed a few inches, ramping up your cardio by biking to work is a great place to start. Biking to work for a year can help the average person lose 13 pounds. Doing aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles and keep you on a path to wellness.
Other health benefits can include lower blood pressure, boosts of energy, muscle building, and improved coordination. Riding a bike for three hours a week can already cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent.
2. Save Money and Time
It's a no-brainer that biking to work is much cheaper than fueling up your vehicle and driving every day. It costs about $400 a year to keep a bike in shape, while it takes thousands of dollars to own and maintenance a vehicle. If your commute involves tolls and daily parking fees, you'll be putting away even more dollars when you put away the car.
The time saving benefits will put a smile on every big city driver's face. These days it feels like we spend more time sitting in traffic than we'd like to, but cycling skips the whole thing. If you don't already drive because you live walking distance from work, a bike ride is still about three times faster than walking.
3. The Environment Will Thank You
Bikes have long been a poster child for green transportation because it substantially helps clear our air. A solo driver in an average vehicle releases about 1.2 pounds of C02 per mile, while the average cyclist releases only 0.7 grams through respiration. Cycling significantly reduces transportation emissions while also reducing traffic congestion and the need for harmful fuels.
Bonus: it takes only about five percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to manufacture a bike, and cycling produces zero pollution.
4. Happiness Production
Aside from feeling better from the fitness-friendly benefits of cycling to work, spending more time outdoors is guaranteed to cheer you up. The release of endorphins and vitamins from the sun are working together to boost your levels of feel-good hormones and make you happier. Soon enough, you'll find yourself wishing your commute were longer.
Exercise can improve your mood, while sitting in rush hour traffic does the exact opposite. By commuting on your bike, you'll be happier when you step into the office and when you get back home. Biking helps you to create that simple feeling of exhilaration as you zoom through your neighborhood knowing you're helping yourself and those around you.
Since its inception, Strava has helped cyclists and runners track their activities and engage with other athletes in a fun, motivational way. Each week 150,000 new athletes around the world sign up to Strava, and last year Strava athletes uploaded an average of 5.3 activities every second. StravaMetro anonymizes and aggregates the millions of human-powered commutes uploaded to Strava every week, and then partners with urban planners and departments of transportation to improve city infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclicts can participate in Global Bike to Work Day by uploading and tagging their commutes on Strava, and use the hashtag #CommutesCount on their social media channels to show global support for better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
Every pedal has the potential to make cycling better in communities all over the world. Whether you ride one mile or 50, if you bike to work on May 10th you can be a part of a global movement to make cities better for cyclists.