A study by ISGlobal, a center promoted by Obra Social ”la Caixa, highlights that people who travel by bicycle to work or to the study center at least once a week have a 20% lower risk of suffering stress than those who they never pedal.
Specifically, people who cycle four days a week reduce their risk of stress by up to 52%, compared to those who never pedal. The research has been published in the journalBMJ Open,
In general, people use the bicycle more when the trips are shorter, and when they have public bicycle stations near their homes and places of work or study.
Furthermore, the research results show that the risk of stress is lower when the urban environment is friendlier to cycling, for example when there are nearby public stations and bike lanes. In this way, the study concludes that a design of the urban environment that takes bicycles into account can enhance the use of this means of transport and reduce the risk of stress.
The study, which is part of the TAPAS project, was carried out from telephone questionnaires to about 800 healthy adults from the city of Barcelona, between 18 and 69 years old, who are studying or working.
"This is the first study to focus on the relationship between cycling and self-perceived stress," explains Ione Avila-Palencia, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study. "We have a fairly stressed society and the conclusions of this publication indicate that cycling can help reduce stress levels in the population," he adds.
Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, director of ISGlobal's Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative, highlights that “these results suggest that policy makers should promote cycling and prioritize it in urban and transport planning to reduce levels of stress and improve public health and well-being ”.
Avila-Palencia I, de Nazelle A, Cole-Hunter T, Donaire-Gonzalez D, Jerrett M, Rodriguez DA, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. "The relationship between bicycle commuting and perceived stress: a cross-sectional study".BMJ Open. 2017 Jun 23; 7 (6): e013542. "