According to the research, by swapping your car or train journey for a bicycle ride to and from work, you can arrive at your destination 40% less stressed than before. Researchers at the Stanford Calming Technology Lab analysed the data produced by 1,000 commuters over 20,000 commutes on Spire, a wearable monitor that tracks heart rate and the amount and depth of breaths you take every minute.
They found that commuters who relied on motorised transport displayed shallower breathing in the hour after their commutes than their cycling colleagues.
Shallow breath and a raised heartbeat are typically identified as signs of stress.
“It’s particularly interesting to see that many people don’t transition back into the home after a long day of work very well," Neema Moraveji, co-founder of Spire and head of the Calming Technology Lab, told BikeBiz. "By biking to work we know that the physical nature of cycling and physical exertion will engender a more calm and focused state of mind. So while being good for us physically, we also see lots of psychological and emotional benefits."
The research echoes the findings of a major study that was completed in the UK last year. Researchers from the University of East Anglia studied data produced by nearly 18,000 commuters over a 10 year period. They found that those who had an active commute rather than relying on machines had a higher level of well being.
People who traditionally used machines for commuting were found to experience an uplift in their happiness when swapping the car or train for a bike for just a short time.
Commuters can find further persuasion to use their bicycles in a recent academic paper published in the journal Ecological Economics which revealed that cycling is 6 times cheaper than motoring for society.
In the first cross-benefit analysis of its kind, Stefan Gössling from Lund University and Andy S. Choi from the University of Queensland looked at a range of societal consequences, from pollution to health and congestion.
They concluded that while every kilometre costs 36p to drive, it only costs 6p to cycle.
"In many cities of the world, bicycle infrastructure projects are implemented to foster more sustainable transportation systems", said Gössling. "However, such projects have often raised questions regarding their public funding, as they entail considerable costs".
"The cost-benefit analysis in Copenhagen shows that investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns."
Original article can be found here.