Time Magazine is the latest big, glittering name in the media world to sound off on something every cyclist already knows: that riding to work—or riding anywhere, for that matter—is the single best way to get through a day at the office with minimal stress, citing studies revealing that bike commuters experience less of it than others.
That study, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, even suggested that those benefits linger long after quitting time, extending well into the evening.
Of course, the authors of the study are cyclists themselves, representing one of the more bike-friendly cities on earth: Montreal. Noting that he and the study’s other two authors set out to empirically prove something they had always felt, Stéphane Brutus, a professor at Concordia University, said, “We were discussing amongst ourselves the good feeling we’d get every time we rode our bikes to work.” Like others, they felt their mental burdens lifted after the briefest of spins, their stress levels all but floating away.
“Anecdotally,” he added, “we felt like we were a step ahead, first thing in the morning, of the rest of our co-workers who insisted on taking cars or public transportation.”
In conducting their research, the study’s authors interviewed a group of 123 people, all of them employees at the same Montreal-area information technology company, and surveyed their chosen modes of transportation, their stress levels at the beginning of the workday, and a summary of their overall health. On a scale of one to five—one being the least stress, five the most—the authors noted that drivers clocked in at 2.54, transit riders at 2.25, and cyclists at 2.18. Given that stress levels at the beginning of the workday have been found to dramatically impact how the rest of the day plays out, those numbers, the authors told Time Magazine, bear profound significance.
Ultimately, though, Brutus noted that other factors may play a part in how the day’s momentum rolls, but that the study’s findings are reason enough for everyone who can to give riding a shot.
“Our relationship with our cars is so ingrained that we don’t even question all the stress and frustration that owning them and driving them can cause,” he said. “We want people to realize there might be a better way.”