Why We Should Cycle to Work

Coming up on the 5th August in the UK’s biggest cycling commute event, Cycle To Work Day. In honor of this occasion, we have looked at the top reasons why you should cycle to work, particularly if you suffer from joint pain.

Bike riding is a great form of exercise for many reasons, but particularly when you suffer from joint pain. It is a low impact, aerobic exercise that put less stress on your weight bearing joints, such as hips, knees and ankles.1 There is scientific evidence that cycling can significantly reduce joint pain, stiffness, and physical limitations, and enhance quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis (OA). 2

Lets take a look at some specific benefits

Why it is good to cycle to work

It will keep your heart and lungs in good shape.

Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, which will strengthen your heart and your lungs as well as your leg muscles. Stronger muscles can help to protect those painful joints.

You will sleep better

Did you know that having less good quality sleep can make joint pain worse, or you feel less able to cope with it without being rested?3

There is plenty of evidence around that shows being more cardiovascular fit is linked with both the ability to fall asleep, and the quality of the sleep you have. 4

Cycling to and from work every day will boost your fitness, and may improve both your sleep quality and how long it takes you to fall asleep.

You can choose how hard you work

When you are cycling, you can choose to do it at your own pace. If you want to cycle sedately along, coasting occasionally and using the lower gears, it will be easier on your joints than if you choose to try and beat your best time! Either way, you will be getting fitter which will ultimately make you feel better.

It is WAY better for the environment

Can you remember during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the air quality around the world got so much better? Well, if more people cycled to work regularly, there would be much less pollution around, making life much more pleasant in big towns and cities, both for us and future generations! Not a specific benefit for sore joints, but an important one!

Mental health benefits

A recent survey by Cycling UK found that 91% of those surveyed rated off-road cycling as fairly or very important for their mental health.5 This is pretty compelling evidence that cycling to work can also help you to de-stress and boost your overall mental wellbeing. If you are in constant pain due to arthritis, that boost to your mood can be invaluable.

Sense of achievement

In addition to the physiological benefits on our mental health, we can also make ourselves feel much better with a sense of achievement at having accomplished something. Whether its conquering that mountain road, or merely getting out on your bike every day for a week, it will make you feel better about yourself and hopefully encourage you to keep doing it!

Get to know the area you live in

Cycling gives you the opportunity to explore the countryside more thoroughly – you will have access to cycle paths and off-road routes you wouldn’t usually use. This will also give you access to places, views and areas of the countryside round about you that you never knew existed. Looking at a beautiful view can raise those endorphin levels, and give you a sense of well-being.

Save money!

Although you will have an initial outlay for a bike and a helmet, it will always be cheaper than running a car, or taking public transport every day. One estimate reckons you can save £3000 a year using your bike – what are you waiting for?! 6