THIS WEEK, DO IT FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH…BIKE TO WORK!

I’m very fortunate that I can walk, ride the subway, or bike to work. Why do I prefer cycling so much more than walking or taking the subway?

I’m one of those people who is always connected. In fact, I have a hard time being disconnected. Technology has made it too easy. I’m on my phone or computer constantly at work and at home. The sacred disconnected places are gone. The car phone used to be only for important telephone calls, now text messages and emails are read aloud so we don’t skip a beat, and airplanes all have wifi so those quiet few hours are gone, too. It’s hard to find a place where you’re totally disconnected. That’s where the bike commute comes in…

When I ride to work, it’s one of few moments of my day where I can totally separate from the distractions of my phone, email, social media and the digital world that can often consume me. I concentrate on the road and what’s in front of me. My mind can creatively wonder and ponder those more challenging questions. My morning commute is a refreshing time for me to think through what I need to get done, and how I want to handle the coming day’s challenges.

After a long day, my evening commute home is my decompression. Its when I get a few quiet minutes to think through the day, to think about what I handled well, and more importantly what I could have handled differently, or what I missed. It’s a great time to try and put your work behind you mentally so that you can fully concentrate on whatever is next in your day.

Riding your bike has so many health benefits, and while most people jump right to the physical benefits, I believe it’s important to remember the mental health benefits of riding your bike to/from work. This week (May 12-19) is National Bike to Work Week, with Friday 5/16 being Bike to Work Day. I strongly encourage you to ride your bike to work at least one day this week. Do an internet search for local Bike To Work events and you’ll find well supported rest stops and activities along your route in most major cities this week. In New York, Transportation Alternatives is the Bike To Work Day sponsor and Citibike makes it very easy if you don't already have your own set of wheels.

I like to think that any day which starts and ends with a bike ride can’t be that bad of a day. Do yourself a favor and try it one day this week, I think you’ll find that the extra few minutes you spend on your commute will come back to you in terms of increased productivity and overall happiness.

May 12, 2014 by Dave Weiner