Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Five reasons why cycling to work beats your average gym membership

Expensive contracts, annoying machine hoggers and exercise classes held at the wrong times – these are all part and parcel of your average gym membership. We all know that exercise is good for us, but you may find yourself wondering if there’s another way to stay healthy without all of these irritating add-ons that seem to appear when you sign up to your local gym.

The simple answer to this is yes, according to Staffordshire employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits. The company says that the HMRC-backed Cycle to Work scheme is an extremely simple way to get in your daily exercise without having to deal with some of the frustrating gym tendencies that act as part of your monthly membership bill.

The scheme is a salary sacrifice service, which helps employees afford the cost of a brand new bike and cycling accessories. It helps employers save on National Insurance contributions and achieve CSR objectives, whilst employees save up to 42% on the cost of a new bike.

Here, the company lists its reasons why the Cycle to Work scheme may be a better fit for those whose exercise is compromised by cost and time:

1. Control your own fitness plan
By cycling to work, not only do you save yourself the interruptive sales pitch from a personal trainer, you also are able to manage your exercise at your own speed. Perhaps, you want to take the longer route to work today, this is now easily done as you are the only person in charge of your new fitness regime.

Of course, if you are able to take on the gym as well as cycling to work, this is now completely your decision. There’s no need to feel guilty for missing a session if your new commute to work helps you achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week*.

2. Save a considerable amount of money
If you chose to cycle to work as your sole exercise routine, not only would you save yourself the gym membership fees, but you’d also save on your travel costs for your new commute to work. Fuel receipts, public transport tickets and taxis can all be a thing of the past with your new bike, enabling you to push your salary even further.

3. Fit it into your daily routine
Well, put it this way – you’re going to have to make the journey to work anyway, so why not better yourself and the environment at the same time? By doing this, you are buying yourself more time to spend with friends and family outside of work while remaining healthy simultaneously.

4. Career development
Statistics prove that healthier employees are 3 times more productive than employees in poor health. Employees that exercise on a daily basis are more alert during work hours and less likely to get tired during the workday. So that promotion you’ve been working for might just get that little bit closer!

5. Feel happier
It’s no secret that exercise makes us happier, but when you combine this with the sun’s Vitamin D levels - you have the perfect potion for personal wellbeing. A recent YouGov survey highlighted that one in four people believe Cycle to Work is the best benefit an employer can offer.

“There are many great reasons why you might consider a healthier lifestyle,” commented John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Benefits. “The gym does work for some people, but for those that struggle to fit it in their schedule or can’t justify the price of membership, Cycle to Work is perfect.

“Depending on your weight and exertion level per journey, cycling to work could burn between 75 and 670 calories**. Even after you have finished your journey, you will continue to burn calories for a few hours whilst your muscles recover.

“If the average employee, working 5 days a week, spent at least 30 minutes a day cycling to work, they’d achieve the recommended amount of physical activity easily.

“The scheme suits both employers and employees alike,” he concluded.

Notes
*http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness/pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx
** http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/burning_calories/cycling-burns-calories.htm


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