On your bike to work
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.