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Did you know you could enhance your health and wellness program by supporting active transportation options? When employers encourage and support active travel modes like walking and biking, employees are more likely to take advantage of those options rather than driving alone. More active employees will have positive effects on employee’s health, employee’s performance, and the community.
Employee Health. Obesity and cardiovascular disease impact Georgians, metro Atlantans, and Perimeter commuters alike. Thirty percent of adults in Georgia are obese.* Preventative Medicine states active commuting that incorporates walking or biking is associated with an overall 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk. Even the European Journal of Epidemiology finds that women who walk or bike 30+ minutes per day have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Encouraging active commuting or incorporating active travel into lunch trips and afternoon errands can help employees reduce the risk of health complications in the future.
Quality of Life. People like to be stress-free, have fun, and enjoy life. Sitting in traffic is not the best way to help employees have a better quality of life. A British study supports the hypothesis that intrinsic enjoyment is gained from the exercise or relaxation associated with active travel. A 2015 study found that among walking, driving, and transit, walking was perceived as the least stressful mode of transportation.* Less stress can mean more productivity from employees when they arrive at work.
Incorporating an active commute into our daily routine relieves us of anxiety and stress and further improves our cognitive performance, particularly in mental processes such as thinking, understanding, and remembering. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports regular physical activity can improve an employee’s work performance by up to 52%. Active transportation options can make employees happier and can improve companies’ success.
Changing Workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. What makes millennials interesting is how different they are from other generations. Millennials are less car-focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving.* With less driving, millennials are really looking for those alternative modes of travel including active transportation options.
Employers have to adapt to the needs and wants of millennials. In a publication by Ralph Buehler regarding biking in DC, he finds individuals who wish to cycle to work may seek an employer that provides bike parking, showers, and clothes lockers. Employers can be more attractive to new talent with the support and encouragement of active travel modes.
Join The Movement. An increasing number of US cities have adopted zoning ordinances that require new office buildings to provide more bike parking and cyclist showers and less car parking, with the goal to encourage bicycling to work.* Communities can see the positive influence of active transportation as well. A national survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in 2012 found that more than 60% of respondents in all demographic categories — gender, race, income, education and political affiliation — agreed that their community would be a better place if biking were safer and more comfortable.
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of activity every week as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time. Ten minutes could be a walk to the train station or a bike ride to lunch. Incorporating active transportation into your health and wellness program will be positive for your employees, your organization and the Perimeter community!
*These facts come from the Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report , 2016