Cycling to work can significantly lower your stress levels, shows study

A recent study suggests cycling to the office can help reduce stress and improve your work performance.

Specialist cycle insurance from CycleguardResearchers Stephane Brutus, Roshan Javadian and Alexandra Panaccio compared how different modes of commuting – cycling, driving a car and taking public transport – affected stress and mood at work.

Its results indicate that cycling to work is a good way to have a good day, says Brutus, the lead author. “Employees who cycled to work showed significantly lower levels of stress within the first 45 minutes of work than those who travelled by car,” he says. The study did not, however, find any difference in the effect on mood. The research team collected data from employees at an information technology company in Old Montreal, using a web-based survey. Respondents replied to questions about their mood, perceived commuting stress and mode of travel.

The survey differentiated between perceived stress and mood, a more transient state affected by personality traits and emotions. The study only assessed answers from respondents who had completed the questionnaire within 45 minutes of arriving at work.

This was done to get a more ‘in-the-moment’ assessment of employees’ stress and mood. Brutus notes that this time specification was the study’s major innovation. “Recent research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of their effect later in the day,” he explains. “They can shape how subsequent events are perceived, interpreted and acted upon for the rest of the day.”

He adds that the time specification ensured a more precise picture of stress upon arrival at work. Retrospective assessments can be coloured by stressors that occur later in the workday. “There are relatively few studies that compare the affective experiences of cyclists with those of car and public transport users,” says Brutus, an avid cyclist himself. “Our study was an attempt to address that gap.” At the same time, the team confirmed previous research that found that cyclists perceived their commute as being less stressful than those who travelled by car.

Cycling has been shown to be a relatively inexpensive mode of transportation and a good form of physical activity. A 2015 study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy found that cycling could help reduce CO2 emissions from urban passenger transportation by 11% by 2050. Brutus points out that 6% of Canadians cycled to work in 2011 and the number is only growing. There is potential for public policy makers to seize on this, he adds. “With growing concerns about traffic congestion and pollution, governments are increasingly promoting non-motorized alternative modes of transport, such as walking and cycling.

I can only hope that further studies will follow our lead and develop more precise and deliberate research into this phenomenon.” The study was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

Cycling to receive more than £17m in grassroots funding

Sport England will invest £88m in grassroots sport and a further £3m to help sports bid for major events over the next four years.

Of the 26 governing bodies to benefit, cycling is set for the biggest award of more than £17m.

Badminton, which last week lost its UK Sport funding, will receive £7.25m.

Happy cyclistsSport England said the announcement shows its “ongoing commitment to supporting those who have a close affinity with sport”.

The investments and new funding opportunities are designed to build on the 15 million people who regularly play sport in the country, which Sport England calls its “core market”.

It follows UK Sport’s funding announcement last week, which was aimed at elite athletes building towards the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo.

Hockey (£9m), gymnastics (£8.3m) and cricket (£7.6m) will be among the top beneficiaries when the Sport England funding comes into force from April 2017.

“There are millions of people with a regular sporting habit, who are often the most committed and resilient,” said Sport England director of sport Phil Smith.

“But our research tells us we can never take them for granted and that life gets in the way of exercise sometimes.

“We are also backing the talent programmes in these sports to find and develop the best performers.”
British Cycling wants to invest more in traffic-free festivals and a campaign to encourage families to ride together, while England Hockey is interested in quicker, small-sided versions of the game.

Meanwhile, British Gymnastics will invest in the surge in demand for high-quality coaching and the England Wales Cricket Board will focus on 20-over formats, the women’s game and getting more people with south Asian heritage into club cricket.

Sport England has also launched two open funding programmes to help governing bodies bid to host major events – £1m for prospective bids and £2m to engage a “broader range of people” through the events.

Tax break proposals could encourage cycling to work

New report by British Cycling suggests tax incentives for employees and businesses, to encourage bike commuting.

People should receive £250 a year in tax breaks if they cycle to work, according to a proposal to improve public health and business productivity backed by some of the UK’s biggest companies and Olympians.

According to a report published by British Cycling, as well as individual cyclists claiming a tax break, businesses should be able to claim back in tax up to £100,000 in construction works such as bike parking, showers or other cyclist facilities.

The study, written by tax barrister Jolyon Maugham QC, was produced for British Cycling’s Choose Cycling network of businesses, whose supporters include Tesco, GSK, Santander and Coca-Cola.

The campaign has received support from Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Storey, who commented “Britain’s businesses have woken up to the benefits that cycling can bring to their employees and it’s about time that the government followed suit.

“It’s only right that if a company invests heavily in providing high quality changing and bike storage facilities – things that will help our nation become healthier and fitter – that they should get a tax incentive for it.”

Under the proposal, employees who mostly cycle to work for a period of at least 10 months a year (monitored by a downloadable phone app), would be able to claim a £250 tax rebate.

The report estimates the plan would initially cost the Treasury about £120m a year.

Companies which install bike parking or other facilities would be able to claim 100% of the costs of up to £100,000 in the first year they were built. This expenditure was calculated to about £50m a year.

Chris Boardman, the Olympic and Tour de France cyclist who is now British Cycling’s policy adviser, said measures to get more people on bikes would more than pay for themselves. “If more people cycled to work regularly, the government would save millions on squeezed NHS budgets and our roads would be much less congested.

“That in itself would more than pay for a £250 tax break and would provide a real incentive for people to live more active lives.”

London lorry ban by 2020 to protect cyclists

Tens of thousands of lorries with poor visibility will be banned from London’s roads by 2020 to protect cyclists and pedestrians, Sadiq Khan has announced.

cycling in the cityHe wants a rating system from zero to five stars for heavy goods vehicles based on the driver’s level of vision from the cab. Only those lorries with a rating of at least three stars would be allowed in to the city by 2024.

There are currently 35,000 zero star-rated HGVs operating in London which would be banned if these changes came into force. But the mayor believes many lorries would be upgraded before the new restrictions come in.

9 cyclists and 66 pedestrians were killed in the capital last year, according to Transport for London. HGVs were involved in 23% of pedestrian fatalities over the last two years and 58% of cyclist deaths.

Khan said: “I’m not prepared to stand by and let dangerous lorries continue to cause further heartbreak and tragedy on London’s roads.

“The evidence is clear – HGVs have been directly involved in over half of cycling fatalities over the last two years, and we must take bold action to make our roads safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.

“I’m determined to ensure the most dangerous zero star-rated lorries are removed from our roads completely by 2020.”

The London Cycling Campaign welcomed the new initiative.

Spokesman Tom Bogdanowicz said: “Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and operators of HGVs all stand to gain if modern designs with minimal blind spots become the norm for on-street use.

“No-one wants fatalities and life-changing injuries to continue to happen.”

Olympians call for ‘everyday cycling’ investment in UK

Some of Britain’s top cyclists have written to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for the government to create “a legacy of everyday cycling”.

The group of Olympians – including gold medallists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott – said encouraging more people to use bikes instead of cars would be “the best way” to honour their success.

Team GB enjoyed a record-breaking Olympics and topped the cycling medal table at Rio 2016 for the third games in a row.

Signatories to the letter – including Mark Cavendish, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Becky James and Sir Chris Hoy – said the best way to mark their achievements would be to invest in cycling.

A “lack of leadership” has kept cycling as a mode of transport “in the slow lane”, they said.

Cycling “does not enjoy the government investment or political leadership given to roads, rail or aviation,” the letter added.

“Only networks of segregated cycle lanes in towns and cities across the country can achieve and influence growth,” it said.

The letter called for 5% of the government’s transport spending to go on cycling, saying this was the “only way” to give it “the priority it deserves”.

“Investment in cycling as a form of transport isn’t purely an investment in cycle lanes,” it said.

“It is an investment that will pay off for the nation’s health, wealth, transport infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities. It has the added benefit of just making it easier for ordinary families to get to work and get to school.

“Our athletes have inspired the country and now we urge the government to take cycling seriously as a transport option for everyone.”

Boardman, a former Olympic champion who is now British Cycling’s policy advisor, said cycling “isn’t only a sport”, but a way for people to get to school and to the shops.

The government is now considering feedback on the draft plan.

The Department for Transport said it was spending £300m on cycling funding – as well as a further £500m for infrastructure in local communities.

“The number of people choosing to get about by bike has grown over recent years and, following the success of our Rio Olympians, we want to see this trend continue,” a spokesman said.

Win free entry to the Cycle Show!

The 15th year of the Cycle Show returns from 23rd -25th September and it follows hot on the heels of the biggest-ever edition of the show.

Last year the NEC hosted a record-breaking number of bike companies and welcomed over 27,000 bike-loving visitors – the 2016 version will be even bigger with a new hall added for the dirt jumping contest and extra space for even more stands.

Already new to the line-up are Cannondale, Orange mountain bikes, Shand Cycles, Radon from Germany, Isla bikes, Magura, USN, 2Pure with Merckx, Avocet, Miche, KMC, Orbita from Portugal, Resurrection Cycles, NRG4 and Megamo from Spain. They join the biggest line-up of bike companies and brands in the UK including the likes of Cube, Canyon, Ribble, Planet-X, Vitus, Trek, Bianchi, Colnago, Boardman, Whyte, KTM, Hope, SRAM, Lazer, FSA, Shimano, Cinelli, Kinesis, Ritte, Primal, Pinarello, Schwalbe, Deda, Lapierre, Mondraker, Storck, Condor, Campagnolo and many, many more.

With this year’s show coming hot on the heels of the Olympics in Rio you can also expect to see a stellar line up of medal winners, current pro riders and legends of the sport at the NEC.

You can view a full exhibitor list at cycleshow.co.uk/exhibitors

Win free entry!

Cytech will be at The Cycle Show over on stand D75 and we’ve got eight pairs of tickets to giveaway!

To enter our prize draw, all you need to do is subscripe for free to our partner site The Cycling Experts. You’ll receive the latest news, advice and cycling industry jobs, straight to your inbox.

Subscribe here!

Eight winners will be chosen at random to receive a pair of tickets to any of the 3 days of the show.

Don’t forget to visit Cytech at the show to ask our experts any technical questions about your bike and find out how you can get the skills to maintain your bike at home with our Cytech Home mechanic course.

About the Cycling Experts

Independent retailers are at the heart of the UK Cycling Community and there are over 3500 specialist retailers and workshops that make up The Cycling Experts. So whether you are looking for a new bicycle, accessories or clothing, someone to repair your bike, an upgrade of your equipment or simply advice on how to get the most out of your cycling experience, you’ll find one of The Cycling Experts businesses near you.

Unlike national chains, The Cycling Experts retailers are owner run and managed, with a real passion for cycling running throughout their businesses, delivering true consumer choice, service and knowledge.

www.thecyclingexperts.co.uk

 

T&C’s

  • Tickets cannot be exchanged, transferred or resold for commercial gain.
  • Entry into the show will only be permitted if the starred fields on the complimentary ticket have been completed.
  • Each complimentary ticket is valid for one entry on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday of the show.

An hour’s ‘brisk exercise’ offsets risk of early death

Workers who sit at a desk all day are being encouraged to get more active, as a survey reveals an hour long exercise session each day can offset the risks of an early death.

Sitting for at least eight hours a day in office could increase the risk of premature death by around 60%. But the risk could be battled with an hour long exercise session, unveils a study based on the survey of more than one million adults.

The research paper published in The Lancet has unveiled that sedentary lifestyles pose great threat to public health as smoking and resulting into more deaths than obesity.

According to the researchers, an hour of brisk walk or cycling a day was enough to fight the negatives of sitting job.

In the study, the participants were aged over 45. They were divided as per the levels of physical activity from up to five minutes a day to over an hour and the amount of time spent seated. The researchers also compared death rates over a period of up to 18 years in the participants belonging to Western Europe, Australia and the United States.

Mortality rate was 9.9% for those who sat at least eight hours and managed less than five minutes of activity. Those who sat at least eight hours but managed to carry out an hour long exercise regimen, death rates in them dropped to 6.2%.

Cancer and heart disease were the most likely reasons of death associated with inactivity. “This report is showing that inactivity kills. When we realized this about smoking we tackled it – we need to do the same about our office culture”, affirmed Steven Ward, executive editor of UK Active.

According to a report in BBC News by Caroline Parkinson, “An hour’s “brisk exercise” each day offsets the risks of early death linked to a desk-bound working life, scientists suggest. The analysis of data from more than a million people is part of a study of physical activity published in the Lancet to coincide with the Olympics.

Watching TV was found to be worse than sitting at a desk, probably because of associated habits like snacking.”
A report published in the US News said, “These results provide further evidence on the benefits of physical activity, particularly in societies where increasing numbers of people have to sit for long hours for work or commuting,” said lead researcher Ulf Ekelund. He is a professor in physical activity and health at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo, Norway.

“Unfortunately, only 25 percent of our sample exercised an hour a day or more.” The study also found that watching TV for three hours or more a day was linked with an increased risk of early death, regardless of physical activity — except among those who were the most physically active. However, even among those who exercised the most, the risk of premature death was significantly increased if they watched five hours of TV a day or more, the researchers added.

Workers need to do double the amount of exercise recommended by health officials in the UK, he said. The studies could not pinpoint why long periods of sitting were specifically risky, but the scientists involved said that movement appeared to assist the body’s metabolism, while sedentary periods could influence hormones such as leptin, which regulate energy balance.

Pedalling the pounds away: Why cycling could be the best way to lose weight

As the Tour de France gets into gear and the world’s elite cyclists compete to conquer climbs and steer clear of skin grafts, new research reveals the true impact of the cycling boom here in the UK. Studies from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, published in a Lancet paper on Diabetes and Endocrinology, reveal that cycling is the best activity to combat the obesity epidemic, with men in particular most likely to gain from a ‘get on your bike’ approach.

Over 150,000 British adults, aged 40 and upwards were measured, weighed and surveyed about their activity levels for the study. Researchers, led by Dr Ellen Flint, discovered that for the average man, cycling to work instead of driving was associated with a weight difference of 5kg (11lbs).

For men in their thirties onwards, the need to manage weight gain and combat the associated health risks that come with it is essential. Research shows that muscle mass, aerobic capacity and flexibility in men naturally goes into decline at this age. But by maintaining exercise levels through sports such as cycling, those most at risk of ‘middle age spread’ or its deadlier form – metabolic syndrome – can put up a strong fight for a longer, healthier life.

“Two thirds of the UK population don’t achieve weekly recommended levels of physical activity,” says Dr Flint. “But our study found that those who do manage to build physical exertion into their commute tend to be less heavy and have less body fat than people who drive all the way to work.”

Cycle Show 2016 – are you looking for your next ride?

This is the 15th year of the Cycle Show and it follows hot on the heels of the biggest-ever edition of the show.

Last year the NEC hosted a record-breaking number of bike companies and welcomed over 27,000 bike-loving visitors – the 2016 version will be even bigger with a new hall added for the dirt jumping contest and extra space for even more stands.

Already new to the line-up are Cannondale, Orange mountain bikes, Shand Cycles, Radon from Germany, Isla bikes, Magura, USN, 2Pure with Merckx, Avocet, Miche, KMC, Orbita from Portugal, Resurrection Cycles, NRG4 and Megamo from Spain. They join the biggest line-up of bike companies and brands in the UK including the likes of Cube, Canyon, Ribble, Planet-X, Vitus, Trek, Bianchi, Colnago, Boardman, Whyte, KTM, Hope, SRAM, Lazer, FSA, Shimano, Cinelli, Kinesis, Ritte, Primal, Pinarello, Schwalbe, Deda, Lapierre, Mondraker, Storck, Condor, Campagnolo and many, many more.

With this year’s show coming hot on the heels of the Olympics in Rio you can also expect to see a stellar line up of medal winners, current pro riders and legends of the sport at the NEC including Condor’s Ed Clancy going for gold in the Team Pursuit.

You can view a full exhibitor list at cycleshow.co.uk/exhibitors

If you find your brand new bike at the show, don’t forget – it’s available on finance with Ride it away!

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