Thursday, 20 February 2014

New research confirms two wheels = many benefits

It is recommended that adults should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.

One of the chief arguments from people not doing enough exercise is that they don’t have the time. The other barrier is cost, as many people imagine more exercise means an expensive gym membership.

New research from the Cycle to Work Alliance shows that joining a Cycle to Work scheme can conquer both of these demons for employees wanting to exercise more. Cycling to work makes exercise a natural part of their day and saves money – on gym fees, petrol, and public transport costs (assuming the whole journey can be completed by bike).

The research, titled “The Healthy Commute” surveyed 18,000 employees and over 700 employers who offer the Cycle to Work scheme. Well over half were SMEs.

Under the scheme, employers buy bicycles and cycling equipment from approved suppliers, and hire it to employees. Employees pay for the hire via salary sacrifice, which saves them Tax and National Insurance contributions. At the end of the loan period, the employer can give the employee the option to purchase the equipment. Employees can save almost halve the cost of a new bike if they use the scheme.

The saying goes that if a drug was invented that brought the same benefits as increased activity, it would be considered a miracle cure. For employees and employers alike, there are great benefits to better health and less sickness.

85% of participants said they noticed health benefits from cycling to work – including increased fitness, increased lung capacity and reduced stress. 97% of employers said they thought the Cycle to Work scheme was vital in achieving a healthier workforce. Nearly three quarters of users said they would not have bought their bike if the scheme had not been available.

The report also showed that cycling to work fundamentally increases the level of activity in employees - 54% of participants did not cycle to work before signing up to the scheme.

Besides the health benefits, the financial benefits for employers are significant too – reducing loss of business due to absenteeism, aiding staff motivation and engagement, and creating National Insurance savings for employers and employees alike.

So if you are considering a cycle to work scheme at your company, don’t ask “why?”…ask “why not?”

For more information about Cycle to Work, contact 0330 333 9100

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