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Want to Lower Your Stress at Work? Commute By Bike

Want to Lower Your Stress at Work? Commute By Bike
Credit: Kzenon/Shutterstock

Trying to lower your stress in the office? New research suggests you should consider changing how you get there each morning.

A study recently published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management discovered that riding a bicycle, instead of driving a car or taking public transportation, to and from work can reduce your stress levels.

"Employees who cycled to work showed significantly lower levels of stress within the first 45 minutes of work than those who traveled by car," said Stéphane Brutus, one of the study's authors and a professor at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business, in a statement.

For the study, researchers surveyed 123 employees at a Canadian IT company. The survey queried the workers on their moods, perceived commuting stress and modes of travel. [Hate your job? Your commute could be to blame]

To best assess each employee's stress levels to start the day, the surveys needed to be completed within the first 45 minutes of their office arrival. Taking the survey later in the day could have changed the results based on any stress caused by workload or other work-related factors.

"Recent research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of their effect later in the day," Brutus said. "They can shape how subsequent events are perceived, interpreted and acted upon for the rest of the day."

The study's authors said their research confirmed previous studies that found employees who bike to work perceive their commute as less stressful than those who drive each day do.

While stress levels were lower, mood was not. The study found no evidence that your form of transportation affects your mood each day.

Brutus thinks their research should spur policymakers to consider more encouragement for riding bikes to work.

“With growing concerns about traffic congestion and pollution, governments are increasingly promoting non-motorized alternative modes of transport, such as walking and cycling," Brutus said. "I can only hope that further studies will follow our lead and develop more precise and deliberate research into this phenomenon."

The study was co-authored by Roshan Javadian, a research assistant at Concordia University, and Alexandra Joelle Panaccio, an associate professor at Concordia University.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.