Hello everyone. Anum of Current on Currency was kind enough to help me out with a guest post as I get my posting schedule back on track. It’s been a crazy few weeks with job and life changes abound, but I’m getting back on the blogging grind. Enjoy this informative post by Anum!
How to Improve Your Health, Wealth and Standard of Living
If you could do just one thing today to improve your quality of life, what change would you make? A new diet, perhaps? Take up meditation? Maybe double the amount you’re setting aside in your IRA for retirement?
While each of these is admirable, they only address one aspect of your overall wellbeing. Luckily, there’s something you can do to be healthier, wealthier and raise your overall standard of living in one fell swoop.
You need to bike to work.
If you require some inspiration to make this leap, check out some of the ways that becoming a bicycle commuter can change your life for the better:
Cycling to Work Lets You Skip the Gym Fees
Riding a bike provides the same important cardiovascular benefits traditional gym activities like jogging and swimming do. Instead of hitting the boring treadmill, you can kill your workout and your commute at the same time, giving you more time and money to spend on something else.
Avoiding Traffic Jams Means Less Stress in Your Life
The average American spends 42 hours a year sitting in traffic on their way to work. In addition to wasting your time, commuting can be a major daily stressor. Embrace the calm, quiet trip on your bicycle, though, and you might actually get to work faster than you would have in your car. Even if it takes a little longer, you’ll be more relaxed when you get there.
Cycling Is Much Cheaper Than Driving
Fuel costs, maintenance hassles and insurance requirements all make owning a car incredibly expensive. Every time you bike to a nearby event or store to run an errand, you cut down on the amount you need to spend on your vehicle. Even just cycling on the weekends will have a positive impact on your budget while keeping your annual mileage low.
Bike Sharing Programs Let You Test-Drive Your Commute
If you’re one of those people with a garage full of athletic equipment from past sporting endeavors that you’ve since given up on, no worries. Many cities have bike-sharing programs that allow you to rent a bike to get from one end of town to the other. Take advantage and do a test month on two wheels to see if you like cycling to work — no commitment required.
Biking Beats the Bus Any Day
In addition to helping you burn extra calories, cycling in the fresh air makes you less likely to get sick than taking shared public transportation. Taking the bus is particularly infectious: There are elevated levels of bacteria on public buses, increasing the odds that you’ll get sick. Bacteria on your bike? Practically non-existent.
Cycling Leads to Reduced Healthcare Costs
Because all the exercise from biking is so much healthier than spending hours sitting still in a car, countries with widespread cycling commuting save big bucks on healthcare costs. In bike-friendly Copenhagen, Denmark, healthcare costs are expected to fall by a whopping $60 million thanks to cycling.
Supporting Cycling Helps Build Economies
Cities that have a high percentage of bicycles on the road see money stay in the local economy. In Portland, for example, where 20 percent fewer people drive than other cities, $800 million stays in the local economy. It’s also a whole lot cheaper for cities to invest in bike lanes than in new highways: an urban freeway costs $60 million per mile, while bike lanes top out at just $250,000 per mile.
Whether you take up cycling for your health, your wealth or to do your part to boost the local economy and protect the environment, commuting by bike will make a big impact on the world around you. It’s okay to start with small local trips to build up your skills and your stamina. Soon you’ll want to bike everywhere, and the benefits of cycling will multiply the more you do it. Go ahead and give it a try!
Anum Yoon started and maintains her personal finance blog, Current on Currency. Sign up for her weekly newsletter to read about her financial journey and perspectives on money management, frugal living, and financial trends.