According to a new Danish study, cycling or walking to school increases a child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom. Children who were driven to school, or who took public transport, performed less well in a test measuring concentration levels, than those who had walked or cycled. Basically the study confirms, once again, that bikes are awesome.
“As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies,” said Niels Egelund, a co-author of the report.
In the survey, taken by 19,527 pupils aged five to 19 years, participants were asked about their exercise habits and were then given a basic test measuring their concentration. The study was really supposed to look at whether eating breakfast and lunch affected children’s concentration habits, but these results came out instead.
“Most people know the feeling of being refreshed after having exercised, but it is surprising that the effect lasts for so long,” Egelund said.
We have written on this site about the positive affects of biking to work as has our sister site Blisstree. Not only is it great for the environment and less expensive but it also makes you feel good. A recent study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine looked at 4,200 commuters in two different Texas cities, commuters who travel further than 15 miles (which takes about 45 minutes to an hour to do on a bike) and spend a lot of time in traffic are more likely to be obese, and more likely to carry their weight around the midsection, which is dangerous for the heart. Additionally, because it’s more time spent sitting, it can actually take away from the effectiveness of your post-work workout.
More and more, employers are getting on board and supporting their cycling employees (it does lower their health care costs, and improve the mood of their workers), by adding showers, bike racks, and even incentives for those who choose a method other than driving. If your boss isn’t pro-biking yet, consider telling them about how much money it could save the company, by making employees healthier.
So you may have screwed yourself by taking the bus to school growing up but you can try to do something different as an adult.