You might be surprised by what you can achieve in mind, body and spirit by ditching public transport in favour of simple pedal power!

Improve your mind

Battling to get on to an overcrowded train only to stand with your face up against a tall man’s back is yet to be acknowledged as key indicator of good mental health.

The Office of National Statistics found that commuters report lower scores on all measures of wellbeing, the “effects of commuting on personal wellbeing greatest for anxiety and happiness”.

Cycling to work, on the other hand will boost your energy levels, make you more alert, aid concentration and reduce stress - as well as giving you a regular sense of achievement.

 

Lose weight, get fit

Cycling to work, even a short distance, or just a few days a week will have a positive impact on both your fitness levels and your waistline. An 11-stone woman riding at an average speed can burn up to 200 calories in 30 minutes – which could mean a half-stone weight loss in three months.

Regular cycle commuters could burn hundreds, if not thousands of calories a week, with little impact on your joints. Of course, the benefits of regular exercise go far beyond how much you weigh: moderate levels of regular activity will also boost your mood and reduce risk of chronic illness.

 

Save money

This one’s easy. Commuting can cost a fortune. Cycling is (mostly) free.

Using an online tool devised exactly for this purpose, I worked out that a 7.5-mile commute that usually costs £6 a day would cost just 80p by bike (taking into account the price of bike and regular maintenance fees). That’s a saving of £600 a year for an average commute – not to mention a saving of a whopping seven days a year that would otherwise be spent avoiding eye contact with strangers on a train.

 

Get to know your city

When you cycle to work, you unlock the secrets to your town or city – and discover the life that lies between and around train stations and thronging commuter streets.

Your knowledge of your city will rival that of a local cabbie when you head off the beaten track and discover the little cafes and pubs that lie along the back roads, far from the commuters on the top deck of the number 52.

And you’ll start to realise that sometimes taking the bus or the tube isn’t even necessary, because everything’s a whole lot closer together than you’d thought.

 

You’re not a car

For every bike on the road there’s one less car, or one more space on the train.

By cycling to work for just one week, you could be saving the environment from 1.3 tons of Co2 – which is how much a medium-sized car will pump out in just five days of 10-mile round trips.

You’ll also be easing congestion. Just imagine if every cyclist you saw on your daily commute was instead in a car, on a bus, on a train – things would be a lot more crammed.

So not only are you making your own life more stress-free, getting healthier and slimmer, you’re also easing the grind up for every one else too.

 

Why cycle alone? Find a companion with Reader's Digest Dating.

 

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