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.