On your bike to work

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PHYS­I­CALLY ac­tive em­ploy­ees make a more pro­duc­tive work­force be­cause t hey have health­ier minds and bod­ies, in­dus­try ex­perts say.

They are en­cour­ag­ing em­ploy­ers to in­ves­ti­gate their op­tions to make their work­places ‘‘cy­clist-friendly’’ so they too can reap the ben­e­fits from their em­ploy­ees’ daily com­mute.

Child Health Clin­i­cal Net­work SA chair Dr Cathy San­ders says work­ers who ex­er­cise on a reg­u­lar ba­sis are much health­ier, more pro­duc­tive and take fewer sick days than those who do not ex­er­cise reg­u­larly.

She says many work­ers find cy­cling to work a time-ef­fec­tive way to ex­er­cise.

‘‘If I travel to work by car, it takes me 20 min­utes be­cause of the heavy com­mut­ing traf­fic in Ade­laide,’’ she says. ‘‘If I walk, it takes me 30 min­utes but if I cy­cle, it takes me 15 min­utes.

‘‘It also re­moves the op­por­tu­nity for me to ‘choose not to ex­er­cise’ when I travel home. Ac­tive trans­port means you ar­rive at your des­ti­na­tion in a bet­ter frame of mind at the be­gin­ning or end of the day.’’

Bi­cy­cle SA chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris­tian Haag says there are ben­e­fits and bur­dens to rid­ing to work.

Many staff want to cy­cle but em­ploy­ers are of­ten un­will­ing or un­able to pro­vide them with fa­cil­i­ties to help them do so be­cause of a num­ber of is­sues, he says.

‘‘Get­ting more peo­ple rid­ing to work de­liv­ers mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity,’’ he says.

‘‘More and more re­search sug­gests that em­ployee aware­ness, health and pro­duc­tiv­ity are all en­hanced by rid­ing but of­ten a lack of fa­cil­i­ties – show­ers, lock­ers and park­ing – be­comes a bar­rier to more peo­ple rid­ing.’’

He says in­surance and em­ployer li­a­bil­i­ties can also af­fect an em­ployer’s de­ci­sion to en­cour­age work­ers to ride to work.

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