Can biking to work improve your mood?
Researchers studied 18 years of data on almost 18,000 18-65-year-old commuters in Britain. The data allowed them to look at multiple aspects of psychological health including feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, and being unable to face problems. The researchers also accounted for numerous factors known to affect well-being, including income, having a family, moving or changing jobs, and relationship changes.
According to study leader Adam Martin, from UEA Norwich Medical School, the study showed the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing. And similarly, people felt better when they have a longer walk to work.
Dr. Allan Griffith, emergency medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., says, “I can tell you that when I get to work after biking, even though only a 1.5 mile commute from home, I feel invigorated.”
Dr. Griffith has been an avid cyclist for many years and knows the difference it can make to one’s physical and mental health.
“The real personal benefit is keeping myself thin and stronger while feeling better physically and mentally,” he says. “It’s a no-brainer, so why don’t more do it?”
If you do choose to take your bike for a spin, the AAA offers these safety tips.:
- Be Alert: Scan ahead, center, left and right.
- Be Wary: Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.
- Be Seen: Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.
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