A recent study showed that when cycling is utilized as a transportation method for commuting to work it lowers stress and increases work performance.1 The study compared the effects of cycling, driving, or using public transportation to work on stress, mood and work performance. It is generally accepted that physical exercise lowers stress, while improving mood and increasing cognitive function, and this research puts this understanding in a very practical context. The study was actually conducted by Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, which is telling of the infiltration of health and wellness into the conscious awareness of other sectors of academic study and consideration.

Cycling to Work Study

The study looked at 123 employees working at a technology company in Montreal using a web-based survey. Participants answered questions relating to their mood, perceived stress while commuting, and mode of transportation. The survey differentiated perceived stress from mood, as well as transient emotional and personality states/traits. Online surveys completed within 45 minutes of arriving to work were included in the study.

Individuals who traveled by bicycle showed significantly lower levels of stress within 45 minutes of arriving to work than those who had driven to work. The reason why the time frame is important in this case is that previous research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of work performance later in the day.

Cycling: Inexpensive and Underutilized Mode of Transportation

There are surprisingly not many studies specifically looking at the effects of cycling to work on stress and mood, despite driving and traffic being major contributors to daily stress patterns. Cycling is an inexpensive form of transportation and a great low impact form of exercise. It’s also environmentally conscious, and enjoyable for many people. Biking to work still accounts for less than 1% of all american commuters, however, in some cities – Portland, OR, Santa Cruz, Ca, Davis, CA – as many as 18% of commuters travel by bicycle.


  1. Stéphane Brutus, Roshan Javadian, Alexandra Joelle Panaccio, (2017) “Cycling, car, or public transit: a study of stress and mood upon arrival at work”, International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 Issue: 1, pp.13-24, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-10-2015-0059
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Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision. 

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