When I worked in an office, there was a period of time that I started getting really anxious at the prospect of going to work in the morning.
Things were really busy, I had a lot going on in my personal life, and pretty much the last possible thing I had any interest in doing when I woke up in the morning was to pack into the subway with a watery iced coffee and hundreds of other hot, exhausted commuters.
And then I got a bike.
To say that getting a bike changed my commute for the better would be an understatement.
I started to actually enjoy getting to work in the morning. It took me about 15 minutes less to pedal myself over the Manhattan bridge into NoHo, and when I landed on the other side, sweaty and out of breath, I was also markedly calmer and ready to tackle the day.
My coworkers at the time had been bothering me to bike into the office for a long time, insisting it would make my mornings more enjoyable.
“It's the only thing that keeps me sane,” my colleague, Kara, told me once.
As it turns out, science was totally on her side.
A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management at Concordia's John Molson School of Business has found that cycling to work both reduces your stress level and improves your performance at work.
The research team looked at how different forms of commuting -- biking, driving, and public transportation -- affected both levels of stress and overall mood at the workplace.
The study collected data from an information tech company in Montreal called Autodesk, where 123 employees were given a web survey about their mode of travel to work, their overall mood, and their level of stress.
They used these surveys, which were filled out by people within 45 minutes of their arrival at work, to get a more immediate and accurate response to their levels of stress when starting the day.
This timeframe increased reliability of the results, before other factors of the work day could impact levels of stress.
According to the results, people who biked to work had much lower levels of perceived stress.
Enough to make you consider ditching your subway card, right?
This is not, by any means, the first time the positive effects of cycling have been studied, mind you.
Yes, that's right. Biking helps you poop better. Who would have thought?
As Queen says, my friends, “Get on your bike and ride!"
And don't forget to wear a helmet.